my current bike project

I decided that a new bike was in order for Trans-Iowa. My choice was a 2011 Redline D660, which may surprise some long-time readers and friends.
Redline D660 TransIowa race bike

I made some modifications to it right away. First, I replaced the stock wheels and tires. The stock wheels seemed fine, but I wanted to save a bit of rolling weight and add a generator hub for all-night riding.
Redline D660 TransIowa race bike
 I used Sun Equalizer EQ23 rims, which are light and cheap. I used another Sun Equalizer rim (ELQ21) on the "race wheels" for my Goodrich, and they are doing fine after 1500 miles of fairly hard use. The new tires are Kenda Small Block 8, which are a good combination of light, cheap, and non-aggressive tread that seems ideal for gravel roads.

The bike came with one of the new SRAM 2x10 gear set-ups.
Redline D660 TransIowa race bike
So far, I like it.

Even though this bike is a departure from my usual style, it's the aero bars that really cause confusion:
Redline D660 TransIowa race bike
Bike people tend to like neat and tidy categories of bikes, and among the neat categorizers, aero bars belong in the pigeonhole occupied by time-trial and triathlon bikes. Why would a normally sane person attach such an accessory to a mountain bike? Why would that same sane person ride a mountain bike at all when the intended use is lightweight endurance touring on roads? I'll let you know when I have answers to these questions. But at present I am busy searching for and/or creating a high-capacity food-bag that will hang off my aero bars. This search has led me to some weird places on the internet. Mostly Slovenian midget porn, as it turns out.


Anonymous said...

Jim - I must admit I was a bit taken aback by your considered racebike choice for the Trans Iowa Challenge. I would have expected you to ride a light to medium weight cyclo-cross bicycle to take advantage of the larger size wheels for better rolling efficiency on the rugged gravel trail. 26" wheels are not as fast as their 700c cousins - also, I would be wary of the complicated disc brakes and the shock fork. I suspect a ride of that duration coupled with the potential for mud and/or dust would dictate a simple rigid system coupled with a cable actuated cantilever style brake (or a linear pull style brake) to ensure finishing with a minimum of mechanical worry. Also - you should consider a liquid diet to ward off the potential for upset/sour stomach. A very real possibility when eating unhealthy gas station convenience store food. Good luck and possibly reconsider some of your equipment choices. I have not attempted a ride like the one you are attempting, but I think my recommendations are sound.

Jim Thill said...

Anon: I disagree that it matters much, but the wheels on this bike are 700C/29". In general, I don't share your concerns about the bicycle or its components. Nutrition/hydration is my primary concern.

WheelDancer said...

Looks like a great setup to me but I am mostly grateful that you didn't share the Slovenian midget porn.

Shaun said...

Perhaps the solution to your food carrying quandary is to strap a Slovenian midget porn star holding a day's worth of food to your aero bars.

Jim Thill said...

If I had a food-bearing Slovenian midget porn star strapped to my handlebars, I'd never leave the house.

Erik said...

Is that an eDelux on a bar end shifter pod? I must admit I've never seen such an arrangement before! Clever.

Jim Thill said...

Good eye, Erik.

Anonymous said...

A gimbaled grill would be a distinct advantage. The wurst advantage.

reverend dick said...

I am surprised by the bar set up. But,I figure you've done enough long rides on a variety of bars that you have a good idea what you like, so I'm interested in watching this unfold. Please to test the ish out of it and report.

Since we are crawling out from beneath our rocks to heckle, I am skeptical of a high capacity food bag dangling from the very forward aero bars. While it does make it easier to hold your beer, I think it will contribute to wandering bars. Are you looking at (inside the) frame bags?

Racy setup? Are you in it to win it?

Jim Thill said...

Rev Dick: I have until April to test the rig before the race (which I hope to finish, have no hope of winning). The bar set up is somewhat new to me, so we'll see. Mostly I just wanted to use hydraulic disc brakes, which sort of necessitates a MTB type bar. The aero bars are for headwinds, alternate hand position, or just giving my upper body a rest. Similar set-ups seem to be favored by racers on the great divide, for example.

Planning to use a large seatbag, a Tangle bag frame pack, and some kind of feed pouch on the front.

Fonk said...

Aero bars have been popping up on the mountain bikes of endurance racers a lot more in recent years, so it's not that unusual. I know some Tour Divide racers use that setup. Seems like Trans Iowa is the type of race where that'd come in handy, too, so I think you've made a solid choice.

bmike said...

nice jim.
long time no writey.

a pair of mountain feed bags may work well. or just sew up a pouch that slides over the aerobars and remains open, maybe 5-6" deep for a grazing bag. only issue might be not using the aerobars as a cue sheet holder / reader, as you'll want access to the food hole.

for my first brevet series i mounted a small seatpack between the aerobars. worked great for holding small important stuff i wanted up front.

aerobars, yes, they can be over-rated for normal riding - but for what you are up to i think its a great choice. and they've been around the TD type events long enough to prove that they work - hand positions, cargo capacity, even an alternate way to push the bike when needed, resting on the armrests while walking. not that you'll be walking.

i'd probably ditch the front shock and roll a larger tire with a rigid fork. but i don't troll slovenian websites like you do - so to each his own.

The Donut Guy said...

I'm digging it......I'd like it better if you hung tassels off the ends of the aero bars.

Daniel said...

That's a sweet setup. I'm dreaming of something similar for the Tour Divide. Just got my first Carousel Design Works bags from Jeff Boatman, on the list for a couple more.