Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bike

So I have been getting a lot of questions about the bike that I am going to be using for the race. Well it is a 2007 Specialized Stumpjumper with a couple of modifications. The first thing I did was put a SRAM X-0 derailleur, after my last bike the most important aspect was to have reliable gear shifting. I have also replaced the SRAM X-9 trigger shifters with SRAM X-0 grip shifters.Last year on the Ride to Rhodes I had numerous problems with mud in the trigger shifters and not being able to change gears. Similarly in the Sabie Experience in December, with all the rain and mud on the 3rd day, I rode as a single speed for a lot of the time. So we shall see what the grip shifters do this year.

I have also replaced the saddle with a Selle Italia Yutaak. When you are spending so many hours on the saddle, you have to have something that is comfortable (OK that's a relative term). It looks quite 'porno' but is a fantastic 'ride'.

In preparation for the ride I have just replaces the crank, chain rings, bottom bracket, chain and cassette. I wanted to buy new chain rings from the LBS (local bike shop) but found it was cheaper to buy the full cranks with chain rings from Chain Reaction Cycles in the UK than just the chain rings locally. They also included a new bottom bracket in the kit. I replaced the cranks with Truvativ Stylo (as per the original that came with the bike). I was really happy with them.

I have just bought a new set of wheels, which should arrive tomorrow. They are Mavic Crosstrail tubeless wheels. Those in the know say that the wheel can make the biggest improvement on a bike, all to do with rotational mass. For me one of the biggest attractions is having a tubeless ready wheel and without the hasstle of fightting with rim strips and tubeless tyres that you can't easily fit over a standard rim.

Lights are another area of concern. I battle to see in the dark, never mind trying to ride down technical single track in the dark. The solution I have come up with is to put two high powered LED lights on the bike. The best value for money was the Black Diamond Icon lights. After removing the headbands I cable-tied them to the handle bars and secured the battery pack to the bike frame. This seems to work fairly well. Nothing like Derek's 'landing light' but a fraction of the cost. I have also put a small Petzl Tikka headlight on my helmet for reading maps at night.


  1. very interesting and useful information for new R2R and RASA riders - thanks

  2. Doug, Good to see we have a bike fundi on the route this year! how much does it weigh?!!!

    I think the mud we saw on RASA/R2R was rather unseasonal, and it definitely caused some problems in the karoo. Drivetrains came in rather poked, and MUST be looked after. A bit late now i suppose, but next time i will post a set of cables and pre-cut housings to..hmm willowmore just incase. on that note, wateringress saw mine freeze on our two coldest mornings...keep them lubed.

    Will be nice to see how easy it is to use gripshifts in the very very cold stuff.

    rotational wheel mass, is well... a long debate, but i'm with you on the UST rims.

    i think your lights are overkill. ditch the tikka and use the 2nd icon on your head. that's more than enough as you don't really do singletrack at night(there isn't much anyway). Matt Botha is a prime example, did it with a tikka only on one set of batteries (and logged an enourmous amount of night hours). I was 100% fine with a Myo Xp, and a blackburn quad that stayed in my pack and never made it onto my handlebar!

    I do hope you've had some time to bond with your saddle.

    no mention of the rubber, and taking a spare?

  3. this is waaaay to technical for the wife