Monday, 20 September 2010

Chicksands NPS 4X

Apologies for the fantastically late post on this one. Chicksands held the last round of this years NPS 4x the weekend before last. Changes to the track destroyed what used to be a drag race to a multi-stage race. A loose chicane has been added halfway down before the triple producing a whole heap of action at the halfway point. The exit of this section was slow and created a staggered start as we had to get back on the pedals uphill towards the triple whilst everyone was bunched up and pushing for position. The track was very physical to say the least.
Racing wise it did kind of work with moves being made the length of the track but the triple was now out of action and it didnt have the flow of other tracks that we have seen this year. In the senior category there was a bit of a mix up as some of the usual suspects didnt make it past the quarters. Keeny left it to the last round to show he can sometimes ride a bike and me and Mop Heap pushed out a few of the other higher seeded riders. The B-Final was a really good race. By the chicane I was somewhere near the head of the pack but left the door open and got taken out taking 7th for the day. Mop pushed ahead of me which gave him enough points to jump me in the season standings taking 8th place and so I finished the season in 9th overall.
The guy to watch for me was Duncan Ferris who was making some insane moves in the elite category. He was destroying the corners in a flat out do or die manner. The moves didnt stick every time but it was awesome to watch him push it right to and slightly past the limit.

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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cotic RoadRat - Drop Alfine build



As I am now slowly falling down the slippery transition that is growing up I have come to the point where I need a more sensible everyday bike to do the commuting and keep the fitness up whilst work slyly takes up more of my time. My commute is not massively long but does feature a couple of serious hills, as you may have seen in the Tour of Britain Swansea has a few of those! I wanted something skinny tyred, geared and drop bar but also low maintainance and durable to cope with the stunning welsh weather. The obvious choice for this brief was the RoadRat.


Cy doesnt do the dropbar with a standard geared option. A trawl of the web found the beautifully made barcon shifter by JTEK designed for use with the Alfine hub. The final build is the standard singlespeed dropbar RoadRat with the Jtek shifter and the rear wheel swapped for its Alfine equivalent. The range of gears provided by the Alfine is sufficient for the steep climbs but I will admit the pace is high and there is not an easy cruise gear that you would find on a traditional setup. I dont mind this but I am used to fairly compromised gear setups having only ever run a single front ring on my bikes. The hub itself performs far better than I was expecting. The internet seems full of mixed reviews but I have to say there is no noticable drag and shifts are sharp however they do require easing off the pedals to change. The lever has a really solid action and is very comfortable to use. I love the subtlety and clean look that you get with this setup.



As a commuter this bike fly's. Getting to work is a shed load more exciting and is absolutely flat out down the hill in the morning, it is now a rapid and somewhat brutal way of waking up! The RoadRat handles nicely, the v brakes are so much more effective than standard road brakes which helps raise the confidence when fighting with the traffic. The bike looks really clean and understated which works well to avoid too much attention in the bike sheds. I personally really like the drops as it gives a range of positions for different scenarios whether thats head up amongst other road users or getting the head down for slogging up a hill.

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