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Messages - wildtoad

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Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 06, 2020, 02:26:23 am »
Thanks for sharing your story, and sorry that you had to experience an accident/crash along the way!

As to pedals, I'm running the Shimano A530s as well....I've been using them on my touring bikes since Shimano first introduced that model several years ago.  Great pedals for touring.

Most of the time, I use my Brooks B17 on the Giramondo. But sometimes when I do a lightly loaded overnight, I will put on my titanium Brooks Professional which is probably my favorite saddle of all time. It usually resides on one of my classic road bikes. Anyway, as brooks saddles have lots of metal, the titanium makes a notable difference in comfort and weight...about 5 ounces lighter than B17.  But the Giramondo will never be a lightweight...but that's just fine for a touring bike.  And I don't think it rides like a stiff, overbuilt bike frankly. The frame strikes a nice balance.

So definitely get to know your new bike and you can then refine your setup over time.  I've had my Giramondo for 3 years now. Here's my baseline setup that allows me to mix and match as necessary (I have never used all components at once):
- Rear rack w/ small panniers
- Solar panel on top of rear rack
- Carradice Barley saddlebag---usually used when I don't need panniers
- Ortleib toptube frame bag, works great and I can use it on the Giramondo, my mtb and my road bikes.
- small handlebar bag that comes off quickly and can be worn as hip bag, good for valuables
- topeak front loader under handlebag bag, bikepacking style bag that's great for my tent
- Instead of front rack/lowriders, I have 2 blackburn outpost cages attached to fork mounts. I can leave them empty and they are more minimalist than a front rack. If I need carrying capacity, each can hold a 4 litre dry bag, up to 11 pounds each.

As to Masi, yep, I'm familiar with the history of the name for sure. In addition to touring, I also enjoy "vintage" road bikes, which for me mostly means 1980s high end steel bikes, a high water mark for road bikes IMO. The Carlsbad-built Masis definitely have a cult following and tend to command $$$$ on the used market.  Current day Masi (smallish corporate) bears little resemblance to classic Masi, but the brand has undergone a bit of a renaissance starting around 2015/2016 with the introduction of some interesting models like Giramondo, CXGR Supremo, etc. And they have hit some home runs w/ the cosmetics/colors in recent times, with some bikes just looking super squared away and like someone actually cares.  All at reasonable price points.  We're not talking bleeding high end stuff here, just well built and smartly spec'd bikes.


Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 06:08:44 pm »
So I saw that you mentioned your Masi, and I did a quick search through the old threads and confirmed my hunch that I responded to your thread/questions about the Masi Giramondo back in early 2019.  So did you pick up a Giramondo?  It's a great, fun and very versatile bike....and that is the bike that i'm running the RH tires on.  At some point in the future when you might want to try a second wheelset, pick up a 650b set and give the Road+ thing a works really well on the Giramondo and gives it a different personality.  There is a blogger guy who posted a long review of the Giramondo a couple of years ago, and he also had great things to say about the Giramondo running 650b Road+ tires, which generally means in the 48-50mm width.

I predict you will love the Supreme tires in general, but most definitely so in comparison to the Kendas. I am a bit of a geek when it comes to bike tires (and car tires as well), so I'm pretty familiar with the current Schwalbe line and have always admired the Supremes. I don't think you can go wrong with either version of the Supremes.

In our stable of 10 bikes or so (6 mine, 2 each for wife and daughter), we run Panaracer, Schwalbe, Continental, Clement/Donnelly, Specialized, Rene Herse and Rivendell tires (the latter 2 manufactured by Panaracer). They are all excellent in their own way. I do have a soft spot for Panaracer for a few reasons. They are willing to make low volume, ultra-cool tires for niche brands like Rene Herse, Rivendell, SOMA, etc. They actively support "obsolete" tire size like 27", 26", etc. with quality tires (I still ride 26" for mtb and use Panaracer exclusively for that bike at this point).  Many of their tires are made in Japan to a very high quality standard. And my understanding is that they spend very little $ on marketing, etc., unlike bigger players like Conti, Schwalbe, etc.  Good stuff IMO.

Re tubeless, I hear you. I am a holdout on tubeless and still run tubes on everything, including MTB.  I have a few friends and know of a couple of touring friendly shop owners who are starting to push tubeless for touring.  They feel that the technology is there, but they readily admit that for touring, you would still need to carry at least one tube, as well as other stuff.  For me, the biggest issue is that I like to split my time riding different bikes.  So the Giramondo gets used a fair amount when preparing for a tour and then on tour....and for short overnights in the Summer, but there are times when she hangs in the garage for a couple of months while I ride other bikes.  My lingering impression is that tubeless is a PITA in that situation, and requires more periodic care.  I'm really not interested in that at this point.  But I am keeping an open mind and I expect I will give it a try in the near future.  The RH tires are tubeless ready as are the Velocity rims. 

Good stuff. Hope you are hanging in there re the pandemic, all the best.


Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 02:38:57 pm »
Sounds good, Marathon Supremes are excellent tires, and are certainly a good choice if you are seeking durability. I have run both Marathons and Conti TopContact touring tires in the past...bombproof and long lasting.  I still run the TopContacts on one of my utility bikes and they are good for urban environment.

Ultimately, there is no "perfect" tire for all conditions of course.  Pros and cons to all options...tougher/stiffer vs softer/supple.  One of the main reasons for my shift to lighter/supple tires is, over time, I have substantially lightened my touring load, both through carrying less and investing in lighter gear over time.  I have also trimmed down to my college era body weight!  I also use this bike for shorter bike overnights in more of a bikepacking style configuration......all told, I like the performance advantage of the supple tires and I'll take a shorter life span.

As to flats, there are many variables in terms of where you ride, what pressures you ride, etc.  Too much air in supple tires = more flats.  And I think the whole tubeless trend really changes the dynamic when it comes to flats. 

Enjoy your new tires!


Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:54:55 pm »
Hi Pat, definitely like your approach to re-tired :) 

For me, it was time to move on from a 30 year old frame and try out a disc brake equipped touring bike as I love touring in the mountains. It was a good change for the type of riding I do.  Found a new owner for the old bike who wanted to use it for it remains in service!

No question, the RH tires are a big investment.  I was fortunate a few weeks ago to be awake and on email in the very early morning hours when RH sent out an email notice of a "flash" sale of sorts.  So I was able to pick up one of the tires at a significantly reduced price...softened the blow a bit.

But can't go wrong with Paselas, really.  I have an older pair of Pasela TourGuards on my around town bike and they are great, reasonably priced tires.

Take care,

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on first budget touring bike
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:49:13 pm »
I run square taper bb/cranks on most of my bikes, including some modern builds. Nothing wrong with them at all, easy to work on and have been 100% reliable for my 40 years or so of riding.   

There are some good quality cartridge bottom brackets on the market, but not through "mainstream" brands. At the high end are the SKF units, but they are really pricey. I think the most compelling product is the IRD Defiant bottom bracket...still not cheap but more reasonable than the SKF, 10 year warranty, beautifully finished. I picked one up last fall and installed as part of a changeover to a sub-compact crank on one of my road bikes that I use for riding in the Sierras (i.e., lots of climbing at higher elevations). 


Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:15:28 pm »
I recently installed some Rene Herse Switchback Hill endurance casing tires (650b x 48mm) on my touring bike. This was part of a wheel upgrade and experiment to see how much I like the Road+ approach compared to the 700cx40mm wheels/tires that came standard on the bike. I haven't been able to tour on them yet or do any long rides, but a few initial shakedown rides have been great. The tires seem awesome, and they look fantastic as well. The tires combined w/ the wheel size have somewhat transformed the personality of the bike....more fun, definitely more nimble, very stable, faster over rough pavement/dirt hardpack, and its looks better too (no large 700c/29er tire "wagon wheel" look).

The tires measure 50mm wide on Velocity Blunt 35 rims. I am running tubes currently, but may try tubeless in near future. I expect these tires will perform well for touring as well as a hybrid touring/bikepacking setup that I also use on this bike.

In terms of past touring experience on Compass/RH tires, a few years back, I purchased the original Compass/RH 26" tires for my old Ritchey expedition touring bike (have since retired that bike). Those early Compass 26 inch tires are a bit different from the current RH tire line up; they were essentially lightened up/"supplefied" Panaracer Paselas I believe. I did one 10 day tour on the Ritchey with the Compass tires, and the tires were fantastic. Zero flats on that tour. The Compass tires are now installed on an old mtb that I keep up in the mountains for grocery store trips, etc. Still zero flats, maybe 750 miles total at this point. Expect they will last indefinitely as they get only low mileage nowadays.

Anyway, those early Compass tires started my gradual shift away from heavily armored touring and road tires toward more supple, fast rolling rubber at appropriate (lower) tire pressures. I have experienced zero change in flat frequency with this approach, probably because I am running wider tires across all of my bikes at lower pressures.  High end tires are a significant investment, but they are a great place to spend $ on your bike to get a noticeable improvement in performane/comfort.

Good luck w/ your tire search, happy riding, and stay well and safe.


General Discussion / Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« on: March 29, 2019, 01:43:30 pm »
Apologies for the delay in my follow up. My ball park budget is around $750, maybe a little higher...I expect to be able to get a great and long lasting wheelset for that, but nothing over the top fancy. I could probably get it done for a bit less, and of course one could easily blow that budget by going higher end on everything. Note that I do live in the SF Bay Area, so fair labor rates are higher than many places.

One big cost variable for a touring dynamo wheelset is the dynamo hub of course. I don't think the less expensive dynamos are a great option for touring, but they're fine for shorter commutes. Good options for touring include SON 28, Shutter Precision and maybe the latest Shimano XT dynamo. My budget is based on going with Shutter Precision...mid price range compared to the SON and reviews suggest solid performance.  Now if I was embarking on an epic long tour, or doing tons of shorter tours, and/or planning to use the wheelset for a regular commute with dynamo lighting, then I would just spring for the more expensive SON 28 as its a great performer and comes with the longest warranty I believe. But I think Shutter Precision is a good value play for me, and I don't care that the unit is not really user serviceable.

For rear hub, I will probably go with Shimano XT. I have had great experience with Shimano hubs at the ultegra, 105 and Deore XT and LX levels.  10s of thousands of miles and no issues.  That said I do appreciate the fancier DT Swiss 240 hubs on my road bike. But I will probably go with XT.

Not sure about rims...options are a bit overwhelming. I've had good luck with Velocity, Mavic and HED rims. I will probably ask wheelbuilder for a couple of recommendations and go with one of those.

Hope this is helful. Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« on: March 08, 2019, 11:18:19 pm »
Definitely happy to share my experience.

A frameset-only option for the Giramondo would be cool.  You could always send Masi an email with the suggestion. I sent them an email back in 2017 seeking some advice on Giramondo rack set up issues and got a fantastic, thoughtful response from the Masi product manager. So you never know. The Giramondo is actually the first new, built-up bike that I have purchased for myself in many, many years. My collection of too many bikes is made up mainly of cool framesets acquired in the used market and then built up myself. But the discounted Masi was such a good deal that I don't think I could have built up something myself for less....and I already owned excellent racks, saddle and touring pedals so overall actual cost was still quite affordable.

As to the wheels, the main driver for my planned upgrade is my desire to try out a dynamo hub for usb supplement the small solar panel that I've been carrying for a few years. So I might as well upgrade the whole wheetset to something a bit nicer. I am fortunate to have access to a few highly regarded and reasonably-priced wheelbuilders nearby. If I wasn't interested in a dynamo, I would just keep riding the stock wheelset. It helps that my bodyweight is some 35-40 lbs less than when I purchased the bike in even with a touring load I probably could get away with the stock 32 spoke wheels.  I will either keep the stock wheelset as a back up, or more likely donate it to our local bike co-op.

All the best,

Gear Talk / Re: Jones handlebars
« on: March 08, 2019, 04:35:26 pm »
Several years ago I picked up one of the Titec Jones bars...back when Titec was still around and had some sort of licensing arrangement with Jeff Jones. The Titec versions were more affordable than the "real" Jones bars of the time. My version is the "H" was of the Jones design, with a rise and a "cut" (not like the loop bars). The Titecs were optimized for single speed setups as they did not have tons of room for shifters, but I took a gamble for touring as I planned to use the venerable Shimano XT thumbshifters for an 8sp setup.  The thumbshifters fit on the bars no problem with plenty of room for grips/hands, etc. Another nice plus was that the size of the "cut" on the bars fit my medium sized Topeak handlebar bag it was custom made for the bag.  Just perfect.

In touring use, the Jones Titec bars were pretty good but not great. Biggest issue was some occasional numbness in my left hand. I tried different stem lengths and heights to address. Only thing that really helped was adding some Ergon grips to the outboard area of the Jones Titec bars. Also I wasn't thrilled with either of the "inboard" position of the Jones bar on the touring bike...the angled "flats" really weren't that comfortable and the aero position seemed too narrow to have confident control of a loaded touring bike.  When it came time to retire that touring bike, I moved back to drop bars on the new touring bike...although I am using a wider variant of drop bars suitable for dirt roads that perform great for road and dirt touring.

As to the Titec Jones bar, I eventually moved it over to my MTB and it works great in that application. My MTB is a 90s era high end steel hardtail with suspension fork...definitely not the Jones paradigm for off road riding. But the handlebar is fantastic on that bike...great control in all situations, uphill, downhill, etc. No hand numbness. And the aero position works great on the MTB...super stable. Was a really nice option when riding the MTB on the Montana section of the Great Divide route...nice to have the aero position on the smoother sections of dirt/gravel roads when the winds kicked up.

So I think a Jones bar can be fantastic but a lot depends on proper setup and the geometry of your bike, etc. Nowadays Jeff Jones offers many versions of his bars, and he's made many refinements and changes over the years (e.g., longer grip area, more room for shifters, etc.)  They are definitely worth a shot.

General Discussion / Re: Salsa Vaya vs Masi Giramondo vs or?
« on: March 08, 2019, 03:07:12 pm »
Well, I will chime in although the original poster has probably made a decision by now. Back in early 2017 I picked up a 2016 Masi Giramondo...first year of the bike in the excellent guacamole green color. At the time I was casually thinking about replacing my late 80s Ritchey Outback with a modern tourer with mechanical disc brakes that would better handle long, steep, loaded mountain descents...had a fair amount of rim overheating issues with the canti/ubrake Ritchey. A small local bike shop had recently opened about 2 blocks from my house and one day I was walking by and the Giramondo was on display in the shop window! Amazing, a touring bike actually in stock at a LBS in my neighborhood! Even better, this Giramondo was one of the last 2016s around and had been a show/display bike, so it had upgraded brakes (TRP Spyres over the then-stock and not-so-good promax brakes) and an upgraded handlebar...all at an end of model year clearance price. Too good to pass up!

Shortly after acquiring the Giramondo, I moved over the Tubus Tara and Cargo racks from the Ritchey to the Masi (and also replaced the stock saddle with one of my Brooks saddles). Racks work great. So, my 2016 is similar to the current 2019 Giramondos...the 2019s come stock with the same Tubus racks and Spyre brakes. Really, it's a fantastic value. You can't do much better than Tubus racks, and the Spyres are one of the better mechanical disc setups available IMO.

I really enjoy riding the Giramondo. It's very stable and comfortable. I would say it's not particularly nimble with the wider 700c tires...but stability is good for loaded touring. It's no feather weight either, but overall weight is line with other, similar tourers and perfectly fine. I have used it almost exclusively for paved road touring, so can't comment on "gravel" or dirt road performance. I expect it would be great for gravel/dirt touring with the racks off and some frame packs/bikepacking gear...hope to try that sometime. Bike has been 100% issues with anything, incuding the disc brakes.

The only upgrade that I will do in the near term is to get a new set of hand built wheels, probably with a dynohub. The stock wheels have been fine but they are nothing special and given the importance of a quality wheelset for touring, I think some better wheels are a worthy upgrade to get the most from the bike. But again, I've had no issues with the stock wheels.

As to the Salsas...haven't ridden them but I have toured with some folks who ride Salsas and they love them.  Don't think you could go wrong with the Marrakesh...or the Kona for that matter.  Obviously it all comes down to what fits and feels better...finding a touring bike to test ride can definitely be a challenge.  I lucked out a bit on that.  Best of luck in your search, and have fun!

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