I'm not a big fan of carbon fiber, I prefer steel myself. But, not everyone feels that way and the offerings for 700c forks with disc tabs in any material is pretty slim. Besides, I have a sweet spot in my heart for Redline from back in my BMX days. So, I thought I'd pass this news along: 700c CF disc fork for under two Franklins. You can read Redline's propaganda sheet below. Yeah, it's a lot of crap, but I'm sure you can digest the nutritious nuggets of information you need and shit out the rest.
REDLINE CARBON FIBER ROAD/CROSS FORK Redline Bicycles is here. Here to save the World from overpriced carbon fiber forks. The new '05 Conquest Carbon Forks retail for under $200, and come in two models: one with disc tabs, or without. At 714 grams, the tabless carbon beauties will barely tip your scale. The models with disc tabs weigh in at 778 grams. Keeping in line with their reputation of providing quality bikes at an affordable price point, Redline's carbon fork is sure to be a big hit with both the 'cross world, as well as the road crews around America.
Available at your nearest Redline Dealer right now.
sku#132233 05 REDLINE CONQUEST FORK CARBON OS X with 300MM DISC MOUNT MSRP: $199 sku#132281 05 REDLINE CONQUEST FORK CARBON OS X 300MM MSRP: $199
Two years ago when I did this same trip I ran Avocet Cross tires. I love these tires. Inverted tread means they run smooth but are super tough because of the thick rubber. On the mean streets they laugh at glass and other nasty stuff that chews through lesser tires. Ride into the dirt and they get decent traction because of the tread. However, their weakness is when you corner in the dirt. The lack of knobs can mean tires breaking away when leaning. When your bike is loaded with gear, correction is hard, especially without tread. Overall though, on that first trip they were a great tire for the canal dirt.
Last year, a few of us headed to West Virginia and her crown jewel of rain trails, the Greenbrier River Trail. Out and back, two days, 160 miles. For that trip I decided to give the Ritchey Speedmax Cyclocross tires a try: smooth center, knobs on the edge for turning. They did real good, but overall the trail had less rocks, roots and pot holes and being summer, I was able to run an ultra-light load. A few things I did not consider until recently.
Fast-forward to the present and our recent canal trip. Ritchey Speedmax on the bike once again (rear only, front is a 44 Mutanoraptor to give my gimp wrist some cush). Lighter load than the first canal trip but heavier than the Greenbrier. And rougher. The first flat was odd, a small rock shaped like a pygmy arrowhead sliced right into the center of my rear tire early on the first day. A patch and some duct tape on the tire, new tube and we are on the way. By the end of day one I have logged 3 more flats in the rear. Day two sees 2 more flats. Seem my little boot job wasn't holding up for a few of the flats. It wore through just enough to give me a pin hole. Took a couple of these for me to figure it out. Rebooted with a piece of my Rivendell Burrito Wrap and duct tape and all was good.
So, what did I learn? No whimpy tires when your bike is loaded with gear and you are riding rough terrain at high speeds. When I got home I noticed the Speedmax tire I had originally had on the front had been booted too. A sign that the casing on these isn't very beefy. The tires don't have many miles on them at all, they barely show a sign of wear. Good for cross racing I suppose, not so good for bomb proof riding. Another lesson learned.
And as a note: big thanks to everyone on the trip who helped me change my multiple flats and gave a hand inflating. With my busted up hand it would have been a much bigger struggle without their generous support.
Fleet Street End of Season Sale //
Tuesday - November 16, 2004
The Baltimore boys at Fleet Street Cycles are having a big one day sale this Saturday, special orders included. In their own words:
Just wanted let you all know that we are having a year end sale 25% off retail price on every thing in the shop and special orders. All orders must be paid in full. Sale date is 11/20/04 one day only. From bikes to tubes its all on sale. If you cant make it, call it in.
firstname.lastname@example.org 410 276 2029
Just an FYI, I spotted some ENO bits in the case when I was in there the other day: cranks, freewheel, hubs. Makes a nice gift for that special someone for the upcoming hell-a-days.
How it was done //
Monday - November 15, 2004
I've been getting some email asking for details on the canal trip, so I'll try to dribble some info out over the next few days/posts.
According to Kevin's computer we logged 193 miles total. My own computer was crushed when it came off during a flat change about halfway through the trip and I proceeded to step on it, turning the display into a black blob. The canal itself is 184.5 miles long according to the National Park Service, but there is a 4 mile road detour around one section that has been washed out. Combine that with a couple of food/beer stops and 193 should be just right. My calculations break down the mileage like this: Day 1 - 65 miles Day 2 - 86 miles Day 3 - 42 miles
A few people I know are looking to do this route so I'll offer this: getting an early start on day one is tough. We meet in Georgetown, Washington DC at 6:30am, which means the B-more crew is up at 5:00 at the latest so we can get loaded and make the drive down to the pick-up. Park the cars and load 11 bikes, gear and crew on the shuttle so we can be dropped off at our starting point, Cumberland, MD. Once there we need to unload and reattach gear meaning we don't get started until sometime between 10 - 10:30am. With the fall back of the clocks the week before, this limits your daylight saddle time.
If you really want to get an early start on day one and make the trip in two days, you best spend the night in Cumberland. I figure, why bother, I'd rather be camping on the trail. Another day in the woods is good for the soul as far as I'm concerned.