Saturday, October 10, 2009

use more brooms

I've been meaning to try big sweep bars on my bicycle since it's birth last summer. Even though I already had said big(ger sweep bars, a 17 degree bend is my starting point) in my possession I never did it. Loosening and re-tightening 10 allen bolts was more work than I cared to tackle.

In addition to the daunting allen bolt odyssey that awaited, I was a little afraid to change my cockpit setup mid season, especially when I could find no fault with it. But the past two cross races have made me revisit the idea.

On my cross bike, I'm able to put the power down really well, and I felt more in control of the bike than I do on my mountain cycle. I figured that if the handle bars on the thunder worked well for riding over bumpy grass, they would be perfect for mountain biking. Sound logic eh?

The bars are 520mm Soma Sparrows with an unknown amount of bend, and about an inch of drop.
From Drop Box

Compared to the Salsa's I've used all season:
From Drop Box
(The new bars are a little lacking in width)

From Drop Box
I've put almost three hours on them so far, and I'm happily surprised. They feel much more natural than my other bars, I have more hand positions, and I can actually weight the front wheel in corners now.

In fact, I've yet to find anything that I like more about my old setup. Because of the sharp bend, I don't think I've lost any leverage, but I have gained almost 120mm of tree clearance. My bike is easier to turn and it's just as easy to pop the front wheel up.

I rode the race course at Apollo the other day with both setups. The first time I used my salsa bars, I put in a decent effort and rode the loop in 43:18. I rolled back to the Grumbler and installed the Soma's (Sans ergons. I'm not sure how I feel about those yet.) I did the loop again, felt like I was dragging the whole time, and finished in 41:20. 2 minutes is pretty significant.

My biggest concern is the lack of space to mount my bell. I'm going to have to work out some way to get that little devil on there because I have no idea what I'd do if I had to verbally tell someone that I was behind them.

Although I'm not certain that the Sparrow bars are faster, I can be sure that they're not slower. I'm going to race with them this Sunday and see how it goes.

And I'm going to start posting every week day again. I swear.

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