Showing posts with label falling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label falling. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Falling. Also, In Love.

Well, I've been falling over kind of too often lately. Good news is, it has been pretty fun.

The bike I've enjoyed falling over on so much is the replacement I bought with the insurance money after the theft of my beautiful fixed gear, Summer. I'll bet the visually astute among you caught a couple of cool features already.

The bike I bought is a 2014 CUBE Men's Touring City Bike. Touring City Bike? Wha? Exactly. CUBE is a German company with a pretty good rep, mostly for mountain bikes. Translation of bike model names isn't always the greatest. Germans love a good all-purpose bicycle and with this thing you can tell. After seeing the specs on it I bought it from Chain Reaction Cycles, the online monster based in Ireland.

When you see the following spec list, I'm hoping you will understand why I skipped the LBS on this purchase...

  • Frame: Aluminium Lite Trekking Comfort
  • Forks: SR Suntour NEX HLO
  • Chainset:Truvativ E400, 42T, 175mm
  • Bottom Bracket: Truvativ BB Power Spline
  • Shift Levers: Shimano Nexus Inter-8 SL-8S30, Revoshifter
  • Rims: Schürmann Yak19, V-Brake
  • Front Hub: Shimano DH-3N31, Hub Dynamo, QR
  • Rear Hub: Shimano Nexus SG-8R36
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Factory 2.0, Black
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Spicer Active 40x622
  • Front Brake: Shimano BR-M422, V-Brake
  • Rear Brake:  Shimano BR-M422, V-Brake
  • Brake Levers: RFR 520 Aluminium Black
  • Handlebars: CUBE Rise Trail Bar, 660mm
  • Grips: CUBE Ergo Grip Shift
  • Headset: FSA No. 10 Semi-Integrated
  • Stem: CUBE Performance, 31.8mm
  • Saddle: Selle Royal Freccia
  • Seatpost: CUBE Performance Post, 31.6mm
  • Seatclamp: Scape Close 34.9mm
  • Pedals: Trekking Aluminium
Weight: 16 kg
Extra Features:
  • Front Light: Busch&Müller Lumotec IQ Fly T Senso Plus
  • Backlight: Busch&Müller Toplight Flat Plus
  • Kickstand: Standwell Centre Kickstand
  • Mudguard: SKS Black Shiney Pro
  • Bell: Humpert
  • Carrier: Standwell Bag Carrier

See, unlike most North American bikes, which need accessorizing after the fact, this thing came with EVERYTHING I was after and then some. I wanted an internally geared bike and that is where I started. But when pre-installed dyno, lights, SKS fenders and a rear rack showed up along with pretty good brand-name components including good spokes and tires, I was SOLD.

Am I crazy, or is this bike spec'd out really well?

I am absolutely loving this bike, despite a few shortcomings that I will cover now.

1) Size: It is too big for me. Bike fit is great when riding, but standover height is too high. Those among you who are thinking "I told you so" about not using a local bike shop are absolutely right, so back off, you bastards! The sizing chart lied to me. My suspicion is that they didn't adjust the chart for the suspension fork. I wasn't interested in returning this awesome bike by shipping it across the ocean, whether at my expense or not. I am so pleased with everything else that I will a) get used to it and do nothing or b) try a rigid fork that will lower the crossbar height somewhat. Despite some online forum goons saying it may mess with the handling, I don't believe it would hurt anything the way I'm using it and if I'm careful to find a fork with some rake to it. My winter tires are 32c instead of the the 38c ones that are on it, and that will help a tiny bit too.

2) Suspension Fork: I am not a fan of suspension forks for road use, harsh urban or not. CUBE has more offerings in their 2015 City lineup with rigid forks, so it would seem I am not alone. That said, I found this one acceptable because it has a lockout feature which I use most of the time. When I'm out in "falling over land", I let the fork do its thing and quite enjoy the cushy ride.

3) Grip Shifters: I hate grip shifters. Just a personal preference I guess. However, grip shifters combined with the Nexus hub seem more acceptable somehow. I don't know why, but it just isn't bugging me the way a grip shifter with a derailleur does.

4) Cable Guides: The cables came attached to the guides on the frame by little metal clip things that pop off rather easily. Nothing trusty zip ties couldn't fix, but a tad annoying and surprising in a bike of good quality otherwise. CUBE has moved to internal cable routing in 2015 models.

That's it for my complaints.

This bike rides beautifully, partly of course because it has big slicks on it. It is heavy, but so am I, and the solid feel is good. When I weigh 160 lbs again, I'll gladly start caring about how much my bike weighs. The gear range seems perfect so far, because I have yet to need gear 1,2 or 8 on my in-city rides, meaning it will probably be fine if I challenge some bigger hills or hit some really fast and flat terrain.

The chainguard, not mentioned in the specs, is clear and black and cool looking. If a chainguard could be cool, that is. The ergon-like grips are really good, and unlike some other imitations they have lock down screws that keep them from twisting out of position.

The Busch & Müller lights, pre-wired to the front dyno hub, are awesome! They aren't crazy blazing bright, but the beam is super wide and useful. They have a light sensor in them so during the day I get running lights and when its dark they go full on. They also have a capacitor so that when I'm stopped they won't go out for several minutes. I know this is old news to some, but I am totally loving not thinking about lights for the first time ever; they take care of themselves. When I'm extra worried about being seen, day or night, I activate my helmet mounted superflash but otherwise I just don't worry. It's great! The points where the wires disappear into the frame seem flimsy to me. I intend to reinforce them with a dab of silicone or something.

Of course, this particular model of CUBE bike is not to be found anywhere for much longer; the model names have all changed for 2015 and I can't find an exact equivalent. In addition, they will likely never be distributed in the USA due to patent problems with the rear suspensions on their mountain bikes. Lastly, there appears to be a new Canadian distributor: , which makes me happy .

So, if you're in the USA and wanted a CUBE bike, you should probably do what I did and order it online. I have no idea if duties or taxes are much different for my US brothers and sisters, but my bike, all-in (taxes, delivery, duty, everything) cost me $1350 CAD. When I look at the extras, that price blows my mind.

I would not recommend buying a bike online to anyone who is not comfortable doing their own assembly, repairs and adjustments; it isn't fair (in my opinion) to ask your lbs to fix the business you chose not to give them. Also note that I got semi-burned on the sizing thing. What's all that worth? I don't know. 

Yer Pal,

PS - I have not received anything from anybody for this review.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Without Sunglasses, I Fall Over.

I experienced an embarrassing fall last Thursday, and thanks to some sort of bizarre personality disorder, I feel compelled to write about it in detail on the Internet rather than just suck it up and hope too many people didn't see. I didn't have the camera mounted that morning (arg!), so I will have to make do with a long-winded description of events, beginning with some introductory groundwork:

1) The day began poorly. When I started getting my stuff on to leave the house, I discovered that my customizer had worked some more on my sunglasses. I thought they were perfect the way they were, and said work was non-commissioned. My customizer further reduced the weight of the sunglasses, but in so doing, decided that they no longer needed to be integrated, which was really one of their best features. Now in three or four pieces, I could no longer work out how to use them, and my customizer wouldn't tell me. I left the house with no glasses.

2) I am a lazy, lazy person. When I was a kid, I was forever getting in trouble for pulling my shoes on and off without untying them. My parents said it would wreck my shoes, which indeed it does. I still do it, at the cost of ruining shoes more quickly than necessary.

3) I have never learned to trackstand. Many fixed gear riders figure out how to trackstand at some point, since it is easier on such a bike. I can achieve just-barely moving status, but I can't stop fully and stay clipped in. Thanks to my aforementioned laziness, I have never tried to master a proper trackstand, so it is no surprise that I don't know how yet.

4) VC (Vehicular Cycling) concepts have taken over some parts of my brain. At intersections, I behave as a car or motorcycle would. This is a very good thing.

So Here's What Happened:

Riding along without glasses is just no good, especially when you are as blazing fast as I am. Tears streaming out of the outer corners of my eyes, I arrived at a 4 way stop right near South St. Hospital. There was only one other car to wait for, since they got there first, by a good second or two. They did not proceed, and instead sat there, looking at me. I was sitting there doing my almost-track-stand. I motioned for them to proceed, but they did not, instead gesturing that I should. It was too late. My almost-track-stand was out of time, and I started to fall over. I got my usual first foot out of the pedal quick enough, but I was falling the other way, and I couldn't get out of the other pedal, because my foot was drifting around in my worn out, loosely tied shoe, unable to disengage the cleat. I got out of that pedal on my way down, but I was beyond saving by then.

The people in a few cars behind me, a bunch of people at a bus stop and of course the two people in the car who had waited for me all watched a grown man (who appeared to be crying) gracelessly struggle to stay upright and fall jerkily to the ground. I was completely unhurt, not a scratch.

Go and figure. I fall immediately outside a hospital, and don't get hurt at all. Anyway, I raised myself and my bike from the pavement with the kind of speed that is only attainable by the highly embarrassed, banged my front wheel on the ground in anger, and rode off. As I was getting up, the woman in the passenger seat of the courteous car was looking at me with a big fat grin on her face as they finally passed through the intersection. At the time it made me angry. Now, however, I am not. What isn't funny about watching a 200 pound man in spandex shorts and reflective stuff fall over while at a dead stop? Nothing, that's what. Man, I wish I had video.

Thanks for reading! I still can't trackstand, but my slothful ways with my shoes have been mended (for now at least), and my new cheap sunglasses are kept well away from my customizer. He's gone over the edge. Such a shame...

Keep it upright; You're Much Cooler That Way.