Thursday, May 29, 2014

Privateer in Gravel Touring Mode

Continuing with our new tire experiment, we got a set of 700c Soma Cazadero tires mounted up on a Privateer set up for some off road touring.

This looks right.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eddie's Privateer Drop Bar Build

One of our first Privateer customers just rebuilt his bike with some fresh new tires and drop bars.

"An update on my Privateer. I tried all manner of trying to get used to upright with Albatross bars and bar ends. I adjusted every which way up down sideways. Not for me. So I installed my fav compact drops, Sora 9 brifters, and a 6603 Ultegra triple crank. The bike still rode kinda harsh and clunky. Last gasp was to try some Grand Bois Cypres 32 mm tires at 70 psi. These replaced Maxxis Refuse 28 mm tires pumped to 80 psi. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t quite believe the tires can make a big difference, but I swear the bike seems faster??? And cruises over rough surfaces really well. I mean really well. I thought this would just be my town funky bike, but now it has turned into something more subtle. I like it."

Be well.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homebrew Gravel Style

Took our 650B'ed Homebrew on a little gravel adventure after closing.

 The Cazadero tires ride great. Not much more I can say. Super fun!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Homebrew 650b Conversion

I had a extra set of Velocity Atlas 650b wheels lying around, so I thought I would set them up on a Homebrew complete bike and see how well they fit.

I think the results are quite pleasing. It really looks like the frame was made just for these tires.

I traded the stock IRD B57s for some Rivendell Silver long reach calipers, and the brake reach lines up just above the bottom of the slot. This allows for plenty of fender clearance, even with 38mm tires.

These brakes are super easy to adjust, so the entire operation took maybe 10 minutes after I pulled the bike out of the box. I used the venerable Panaracer Col De La Vie tires, which were at one time pretty much the only 650b tire you could get.

Nowadays there are many other good options, but for the money I still think they're a great value. They may not be the fastest rolling tread pattern, or the lightest casing (that distinction goes to the Soma Grand Randonneur tires), but they roll pretty darn smoothly and they give the bike a nice traditional look that I enjoy.

For rough roads, gravel and dirt paths these wider tires are a smart upgrade. The minimum reach on the Silver brakes is 57mm, so you could easily set them up with the 700c wheels and have an extra 650b wheelset ready to swap out depending on the kind of riding you planned on doing. All it takes is a quick brake pad adjustment and you're ready to go.

Besides the obvious pneumatic suspension gains, going to larger tires has the knock on effect of improved grip when cornering. Do to the increased volume you'll be able to run lower pressure without worrying about pinch flats. Lowering the pressure will increase the amount of rubber in contact with the road while leaning into a turn. You'll really appreciate increased stability if you ever find yourself descending a steep chicane with loaded panniers.

Another nice thing about running 650b wheels on the Homebrew is that the geometry remains relatively sporty compared to a heavy duty touring bike. The short chainstays and steeper headtube angle keep the handling lively and responsive, so it's still fun to ride with just a small front rack or saddle bag.

If you're 650b curious but you're on a budget, you might want to give the Homebrew a closer look. Converting it to 650b wheels only takes a few minutes and you probably already have the tools you'll need to make the swap.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sandra's Privateer Build

Hi Evan,

I've already posted a picture of my new Privateer on the New Albion FB page, but thought I'd send along this picture of it in the sun with a SOMA rack on it on with my brevet bag from Ruthworks SF. 

I'm putting miles on the bike and am really enjoying riding it around. 

Looking forward to more updates on the New Albion blog as more people discover what a great value these bikes are besides a heck of a lot of fun to ride.