Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long haul truckin' preparations have started

I've spent the afternoon contemplating which bike I will bring to the 200 mile Dirty Kanza ride coming up at the of May. As someone who has trouble making decisions in a timely manner, I'm still undecided, but at least I'm armed with more information now.

One big consideration I'm...um considering... is how best to carry my needed stuff on the bike. Lots of options are out there but with limited funds comes limited options. I did purchase a Epic Ride Research Feedbag which will go on either bike I decide to ride. It attached in the nook between your stem and your handlebars with velcro straps. The bag is deep and has some good structure with a rip cord closure system that is suppose to be easy to operate one-handed. I have yet to use this bag out on a ride, but it's mounts up easy and looks like it will work out well.

Another sure thing I've picked up to use is the Niterider MiNewt USB LED light. Again, I haven't had an opportunity to use it on a ride yet but it was easy to mount to both bikes. I got the Plus model that also comes with an extension cord and a helmet mount. First impressions are that this is a VERY small light and battery package. Supposed burn time is 3 hrs so I'm planning on trying to have 2 batteries for the Dirta Kanza ride. I'll most likely also have another light with me, either a commuter style LED light or maybe my big Trailtech HID.

Frame bags are gaining popularity it seems. Perks of this design are that it keeps the weight more centered and lower to ground than a rear rack or front rack. Another perk is that the bag is accessible while riding, unlike front/rear paniers. Jandd makes a very inexpensive frame bag which I've had my eye on for months. I was able to borrow one from 8Ball to see how it would fit on my bikes. I knew it would be tough to get it to work on my Quiring. With the very compact frame design I ended up with, there is very little room for anything inside the main triangle other than a couple water bottles. I still wanted to try it out though to see my options since I am leaning towards riding the Quiring at Kanza, since it's already setup SS and is custom fit to me (and has a flat bar).

I went through many different ways to mount the bag to the Quiring.

Option #1:

This was my first idea before even getting the bag to try out. Plain old mount it backwards. Works ok except I will lose the use of my downtube waterbottle cage. I'd like to use both water bottles and a camelback as I'm expecting atleast 50 miles between rest stops.

Option #2:

This is a more secure mounting since it is how the bag was intended to be used, but again, it will mean I can't really use my waterbottle cage, or I can't fill up the bag all that much. Not really a good option.

Option #3:

This is the best option of the three for how well the bag is secured to the frame. Again though, I will only have access to one water bottle cage. I decided to fill up the bag with some mock cargo to see how this option worked out. I put a jacket in the right pocket and some food and a small tire pump in the left pocket. The bag held it well and I still had access to the downtube water bottle but.... (a big one) The bag was really wide. With it down near the seattube, this meant my knees were rubbing the bag every pedal stroke. Not good.

Ok so moving on to my other bike option. My Surly Crosscheck. Pros for this bike are a larger frame area for bag placement, rack mounts if I were to go that route and gears if I decide I don't want to ride the race singlespeed. Cons are the drop bars are somewhat narrow for my tastes so less climbing torque, the leather bar tape doesn't provide much cush and the frame is a tad bit small for me so it doesn't fit quite as well as the Quiring. (oh and it has gears...pro and con)

I was curious how the bags would mount up to the Crosscheck so I went ahead and tried it out. Feedbag and light mounted with ease. The Jandd bag mounted perfectly, leaving me full access to both water bottle mounts.

So looks like for storage possibilites it's Crosscheck 1 Quiring 0
(not that this was a big surprise)

I'm planning on trying a Epic Designs gas tank soon too that Johnny5 is letting me borrow. I imagine this will be a sure thing for use on which ever bike I bring. I also am still planning on getting some new tires for the ride and haven't yet decided which ones. I've narrowed my choices to the WTB Vulpine 2.1 or the Kenda Small Block Eight 2.1. Not sure if these will fit in my Crosscheck... more things to check out.

1 comment:

cornfed said...

between the feedbag and the gas tank you probably won't need the jand.

Access to one water bottle at a time is really all you need. It doesn't hurt that the bag helps hold one in too for the rougher high speed roads.

tubes, multi-tool, tire boot, 60-80 miles worth of water, commuter lights, and some food is all you really need. Jackets, sunscreen, etc... are nice extras but depending on weather may or may not be needed.

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