Cross Check has now seen road for a few months. It’s time to sit back and take a look at how well the expectations were met.
The performance of the SA front drum brake has continued to improve, though not dramatically. The stopping power seems adequate for normal riding situations but it’s still hardly possible to lock up the front wheel even on gravel surface. Such a performance would make many wince but in practice it still feels pretty decent. It feels as if the stopping power decreases along with the spinning velocity so that the early bite when riding fast is pretty good but just doesn’t increase when the speed goes down. There was one surprise with the front brake on one afternoon when the bike had spent the day at work place after an exceptionally wet morning ride. When leaving work the front brake initially didn’t bite at all. The situation didn’t last long. After a couple of tugs on the levers the condition was cured. It was a reminder of the fact that the brake drum is not actually completely sealed but some water might seep in either through condensation or by leaking in.
Nothing much to add about the performance of the kick brake. It hasn’t seen much use but works smoothly when needed. The two speed kick hub is simply FUN!!!
The frame has mostly served as expected. The adjustable stem has now been replaced by a Salsa Moto Ace 40 degree 105mm fixed stem placing the tops of the handlebars roughly on the level of the saddle.
The 60cm frame was mainly selected in order to get the bars high enough. The assumption was that once the correct handlebar height was achieved it would be easy to tune the reach by adjusting the stem length and saddle fore-aft position. After some experimentation we are starting to have second thoughts about the 60cm frame size. The overall reach for our 186cm rider is pretty long. One factor is the Midge handlebars that have a fairly long reach with their short drops. If the saddle is moved to the fore end on the rails the reach is about right but it wouldn’t hurt being still a bit shorter. A further tuning of the position is very difficult as it would only be possible by using a very steep high rise stem which are not available.
With the availability of stem raisers we are now starting to think that at least for this particular rider it might be easier to find the best riding position by opting for a slightly smaller frame and installing a stem raiser. This would allow a far wider range of tuning options by altering the stem lenght and rise. Of course a custom frame would solve all these issues but a stem raiser costing just 5 euros is hard to beat and at the back of our heads we are still building the Traveller’s Check which would be the most cost effective frame with S&S couplings.
The Midge bars have been ok but the shortness of the drops is starting to take its toll. Especially with our unusual setup of using a Tektro RL740 brake lever as a reverse lever at the end of the drop the space left for the right hand is simply too narrow. A solution to this problem might be the Salsa Woodchipper bar. It has some 5cm longer drop section and on paper seems absolutely perfect. It will be installed in the near future on this bike so stay tuned.