Tour Divide; a few developments so far.
Get ready to geek-out!
Carbon framed mountainbikes are also much lighter, and I like them. The LES 29 has TD pedigree too, Mike Hall won it on one in 2013.
|The Pivot LES 29 bought at a very good price, except that it’s now Solar Orange! I’ve fitted a new rear cassette, chain, and chainrings and it’s good to go.|
The cockpit is also proving to be a conundrum of sorts.
I want to run with a wide handlebar – 740mm – to give me plenty of room for all the paraphernalia I need to carry (aerobars, maps, lights, GPS, etc). It should mean I can run a shorter stem too, for better steering precision. In turn this is affected by crank length/seat position! A shorter or longer crankarm (165mm or 170mm) will mean a different fore/aft position of the seat which, again, affects stem length! The smallest of changes can affect the riders position on the bike, and the way in which the bike handles. Confusing isn’t it?!
So I’m off to get a professional bike-fit at my local Retul fitting provider. Hopefully I will come away from that with a bunch of useful stats to work with. I’ll post about that at a later date (if you can maintain the will to live!).
For Aerobars I looked around and ended up purchasing a set of Profile Design T1+ and so far I quite like them. Once I have the cockpit fully dialled I will cut them down to get rid of excess material/weight; I can also store zip-ties etc inside them.
After fitting these, and mounting an Alpkit Airlok Xtra – Dual Ended Drybag (for storing my bivvy/sleeping bag/mat), I noticed that my front light beam was obstructed. So I figured out a solution to that by machining a custom mount from nylon that fits between the Aerobars, and secures with a couple of zip-ties, that was an easy, but satisfying, one.
I’ll be riding with Ergon GS2 grips for comfort, and a different hand position, to help with fatigue.
|My home-made light-mount fitted to T1+ Aerobars.|
|With the light attached.|
|Front end of the cockpit, as it stands at the minute.|
I’ll be swapping the current suspension fork for a bolt-thru rigid carbon fork; I’m still looking for the right one of those, at the right price.
I’ve already fitted a set of Maxxis Ardent 29″ x 2.25″ LUST Tyres, for a couple of reasons.
First up they are very similar to my prefered Maxxis ADvantage 26″ tyres; they don’t do those in 29″, unfortunately. The Ardent’s are also a little faster rolling, I’ll see how they go.
Secondly I can run them tubeless with Stan’s NoTubes Sealant, and the LUST tyres have a very robust sidewall. I have yet to destroy one despite my best efforts.
In a word: confidence.
I will be swapping out the stock DT Swiss XR400 wheels for a set of Hope Pro2 EVO/Stan’s Arch EX at a later date. And just prior to the race I will be fitting a new Hope Headset and PF41 Bottom Bracket. It’s that confidence thing again.
|Maxxis LUST Tyres – Bombproof!
Luggage wise I’ve opted for Alpkit, for a number of reasons. It’s very local to me so I can pop over and discuss my requirements easily. Also I like them, they’re nice people, and they have a social and environmental stance that fits with my own ideals. They are things that are important to me as a consumer. Plus the kit they make is very good, and because they only sell direct to the public their prices are extremely competitive, bonus.
For now I have an Airlok Xtra-Dual Dry Bag – 20L to mount on the handlebars. This will store my sleeping kit – Bivvy, Sleeping Bag, and Mat. Hopefully there will be room for an extra water pouch when I need it. It comes with webbing straps, for mounting to the handlebars, already fitted.
Underneath all that lot sits a small Thermarest Prolite 3/4 Mattress. It’s light enough but not minimalist. If I have to sleep on the floor for three weeks then I’m prepared to sacrifice a few grams in exchange for a small increase in comfort.
This lot all rolls up nicely in one go and fits the Airlok Xtra Dual Dry Bag with a little room to spare
In the next instalment I’m going to look at all the other stuff that I’m considering; clothing, hydration challenges, spares, tools, technology etc.
In the mean time you can follow me on:
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Thank you for looking 🙂