All-rounder Update: 200km Mark

All is well on the bike front, and I’ve now made it up to the 200km mark. I know, not a lot of riding in three weeks, but I’ve been completing the final push of school into exams (I finished my Chemistry exam today, yay! Only physics left, which is tomorrow). The tires are wearing well enough, but the compound of the CST Critters is fairly soft, so even gravel skids have worn the rear tread down a *weensy bit*. Just enough so that the “herringbone” pattern imprinted on each of the knobs is barely visible.

The Herringbone pattern is wearing away quickly…
the skid spots are worse than the above picture.

So far, here’s what I’m liking:

– Off road handling
– On road handling!
– Overall weight
– Load Capability
– Comfortable seat/steam/handlebar height and position
– Top Tube length is good
– Rolling resistance ( Speed!)
– Gear range (it hasn’t been changed from before)

After about 125km offroad (light trails, gravel, a bit of chip seal road and a few muddy+technical bits of singletrack), I’m happy with how well the bike works. Lots of BB clearance for the roots/logs. The CST Critter’s are claimed at 2.1″ wide, but they are closer to 2.0″, in actuality. As many other tires are over-stated for width (see some tire specs here), you could fit a 29 x 2.3″ tire, if you want to really squeeze some large rubber in there. On road, the Critters sap energy, unless they are pumped up to their 65 psi limit. At this pressure, the small contact patch makes it pretty easy to stay going fast.

Below 40 psi, the tire makes a great shock absorber for trails.
Exceeding the reccomended limit is sometimes reccommended. 

The overall wight is 35lbs, complete. This is only 1 lb less than my previous bike, despite its frame weighing a full four pounds more than the O8 frame here. My hypothesis: the wheelset is the heavy hitter here, and adding 750g tires and 200g tubes to each wheel is only exacerbating the problem. When its time for those club rides/ summer rando sessions, you can bet I’ll shed these heavy tires and tubes and go for the 26mm semi-slicks I’ve got tucked away…

The frame nice dimensions to it, and the top tube is perfectly sized out so that the handlebars are not too far away for riding in the drops, and not too close to ride upright in the hoods or using the flat part of the bar. This upright riding is a lifesaver for quick downhill switchbacks & fast offroad turns, as well as getting over roots + rocks. An all-around nice ride quality and comfort.

This cheap Avenir stem is actually quality. Lightweight, and
it allows adjustment for offroad/touring/road handlebar heights.

Ooooh…. “Custom drawn”…. and “airplane grade”:
economic, and still fairly light, Cro-Mo tubing.

Here’s what I’m not so happy about:

– Delayed shifting/ Ghost shifting on rear
– Derailleur cable stop location
– Rear dropouts slightly misaligned
– Rear rack deck height
– Kickstand placement

The 17-year-old Alivio rear derailleur is shot, and has so much play that it allows ghost shifting and shifting under load, but won’t shift when the time comes! A well-loved (aka, used) Deore-level or higher mech. might be finding its way on the back as a replacement – “Bike Pirates” of downtown Toronto has a million of such used derailleurs in a box for dirt cheap. And such good quality derailleurs, if not too badly worn, can be cleaned up and will perform like new. The rear cable stop also poses an odd challenge – it was meant for full-housing cables, so I had to “improvise” with a ziptie, and was placed too far from the derailleur (the cable is almost too short).

I need to replace this. 

The wheel sits slightly too the left in the rear triangle, and I’m fairly sure it is because of the dropouts being misaligned. OTOH, it could be because of my 130-spaced hub, as I did add a washer to the left of the hub, and it helped a bit. The high-up rear rack allows lotsa tire+fender room, but it is so close to the seat, that only a few small bits of camp gear could fit atop it. The kickstand is overly bent, and mounts awkwardly on the rear of this new frame, and so a Pletcher 2-legger may be warranted soon, as well.

The cantilever brakes work well too, but lack a bit of the “punch” that
V-brakes or disks manage to have. No regrets, though.

Overall impressions bode well, and I think this will stay my primary rig for the foreseeable future.

A fine beauty, that!

8 thoughts on “All-rounder Update: 200km Mark

  1. Thanks for the comment! I’m about 5’10”, with a (if I remember correctly) 33″ inseam, so I got the 56cm. I think this is the size for most “average” people, and I’d only really reccommend a 59cm frame if you’re over 6 feet by an inch or so. Then again, sizing changes for each different frame, so don’t hold me to it. Good luck!

  2. is it fit for you? i mean do you feel confortable? so u suggest to get a 59 frame, u should be right cause i am 1 inch longer in inseam, by the way, hope i am not troubling u, i wanna know what is the 56cm mean, i mean how is the seat tube measured, center to center or center to top? can u see wich measurement gives u 56cm? thanks a lot man! PS how do the new tires feel? i think its faster as u leave

  3. If you are around my height, but have a 1in longer inseam, I’d say it would be a tossup – could go for either size. I’d still reccommend the 56, however, if you aren’t young or expecting to grow much 😛
    I find my frame size very comfortable and near prefect for me. And the sizing in cm refers to the length from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the top tube, as measured along the seat tube. So yeah, just centre to centre. It is measured in inches for some bikes, so just covert from imperial to metric or vise versa to get equivalent measurements.

    PS. – these tires are pretty great, and I just tried the CST Critters again…. they are super slow in comparison.

  4. i am 6″1 and my inseam is 34″, i’m 27 years old so i am not growing any more, i know how the frame’s seat tube is measured but i wanted to know how was it measured on cx700 cause they don’t say anywhere, so if u measured it and u have 56cm from center to center, then that is suited for me, how is the frame? is it solid ? heavy ? looks solid

  5. Yeah, the top tube is straight, so its 56cm Centre-Centre. If you are 6’1″, then you probably want the 59cm, to give you more arm room to the handlebars – a cramped cockpit is the worst. The frame is definitely solid, it uses wide tubes. Not heavy though, its actually a little better than average for a steel frame of that size (about 6.8 lbs frame+fork). Good luck!

  6. This is the ‘old’/first model of the bike, making it the 2009/2010 model. Supposedly, the 2011 model is black only (not gray like mine), and is lighter – but I haven’t found it on sale ANYWHERE at all yet.

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