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Topics - TimTyler

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Gear Talk / Ortlieb Front Roller City Panniers
« on: January 08, 2011, 10:27:59 pm »
After reading the BikePacking article in the last Adventure Cyclist magazine I started thinking about how fun it might be to tour lighter. I'm not a weight weenie by any means, but the concept of shedding maybe 50% of the usual touring package seemed like it was worth some thought, especially for warm weather trips.

I started my search for a smaller touring kit by looking for smaller bags. Nothing says "Leave that at home" like "There's no room for it!"

I like the Ortlieb Back Roller Classics I have now, but they're big and relatively heavy (1900g/pair). The lightest Ortliebs I've ever seen are the Front Roller Plus panniers at 1440g/pair.

Then I noticed their Front Roller City bags on some of the European online bike stores. Capacity is the same as the Front Roller Classic and Plus models at 25 liters/pair. At only 1210g/pair they're comparatively very light, and at £60/pair ($93) they're inexpensive too! I ordered a pair.

The first thing I noticed is that there's less hardware, although for me that's no problem at all. No fastening strap is included, nor is there a hook where the strap would attach.

Most obvious hardware difference is the anchoring hook and rail on the back. The hook can be flipped to point left or right, but it cannot be positioned any other way. It does not rotate like the hook on the Roller models. The single, straight rail that the hook is fastened to allows for horizontal adjustment but offers no vertical flexibility. For the record, the hook center is about 7.75" below where the top of a rack would be.

The closing clasps attached to the sides of the bag's opening are both male and therefore cannot be mated to each other. The only place they can attach to are the female sockets about halfway down the sides of the bag. I wonder why Ortlieb didn't just reverse the male/female configuration on one side so that there would be more closing options.

Otherwise construction is to the same high standards we expect in Ortlieb bags. No surprises. I'm ordering a second set now.

Gear Talk / Odd Ortlieb Handlebar Mounting
« on: August 22, 2010, 12:38:43 pm »
I just purchased an Ortlieb Compact Bar Bag display model from my LBS. The bag was on the display rack mounted on an Ortlieb mount I did not recognize.

At my request, the shop offered me the option of buying the odd mount or the standard Ortlieb mount. I chose the odd mount since since I don't like the Ortlieb key-lock functionality, AND the cable system on this mount looks like it could last many many handlebar changes.

This mount tightens using just the two screws on the front of the mount. There are no screws on the bottom of the mount.

Anybody seen one of these before? Is it an old-style or a beta style that never went public?

I'm curious if this mount is as strong as the standard mount too.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Delorme PN-60
« on: August 01, 2010, 11:11:10 pm »
I've never used a GPS on a bicycle, but lately I can see how it might be helpful both on long and short trips.

At $400 + mounting it seems both expensive and a good value for it's features.

Gear Talk / Lopsided Brooks B17 ?
« on: July 24, 2010, 02:00:53 pm »
I was working on my bike the other day and noticed that the Brooks B17 saddle was not level left-to-right. It's about 1-3mm higher on one side.

I pulled it off the seat post and sure enough, one of the rails is shaped slightly different from the other.

Now, I've had the saddle for almost a year, and I don't think my tush notices the slant, but I do recall a few months ago wondering why the bike pulled to one side when I took my hands off the bars. I attributed that to a nearly empty pannier on one side of the rear rack.

I know that Brooks saddles are known to morph to fit a tush, or perhaps it's the tush that morphs to fit the saddle, but is it possible the saddle rails where straight when purchased and have since bent?

As far as a break-in period... I remember that the first few hours on the brand new saddle where very uncomfortable, but just 15 miles into the saddle it didn't bother me anymore. I think it feels the same now as it did back then after the first day of use, just fine. So if Brooks will take the saddle back I don't think I would have a problem breaking a new one in.

Youth Bicyle Travel / Can I Tour with a Trail-a-bike?
« on: July 13, 2010, 06:22:29 pm »
Family tours using tandems are common, but can it work with a 5-year old who doesn't pedal much on a trail-a-bike?

Gear Talk / Good Cycling Shorts w/ Chamois
« on: July 11, 2010, 09:23:20 pm »
Last year I bought a pair of REI shorts with a built-in chamois but didn't actually ride with them until this week.

Overall the fit is good, but the chamois is HUGE, thick, and stiff. They don't look so bad in the mirror, but it feels like I've got a big foam rectangle in my pants.

The last chamois shorts I had were the lycra type and the chamois was thinner and not so stiff. Those felt fine.

Maybe I just need to wash these REI shorts fifty times to loosen them up, or....

Can anyone recommend a good touring short, cargo style, with a less-than-diaper-sized chamois?

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