Rigorous Testing

The rain has finally stopped, and we’re enjoying what you’re probably no longer allowed to call an Indian summer, and so I scampered off to the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall for the first time in what felt like awhile:

I also continued my rigorous testing of the Pearl Izumi Canyon shoe I mentioned the other day:

Indeed, between my bike’s orange accents, and the shoes, and the MUSA shorts, and the Vulpine shirt, I attained a state of matchy-matchiness of which I never thought I was capable:

Speaking of rigorous testing, I’d been using the Passchier bamboo bars on this bike:

But today I reverted to the bike’s original bars:

They are titanium, made by the builder of the bike, and use a shim, which he also made:

I like the Passchier; it’s very plush, and the bend is comfortable. However, you’ve really got to wrench on the bars when going up steep pitches on a single-speed mountain bike, and in those instances they’re a bit too flexy–which isn’t an indictment of the bars, since they’re not designed for single-speed mountain biking, or really for mountain biking at all. So between the additional rigidity and the little bit of extra width, the titanium bars are better on this bike when your’e riding it the way it’s “supposed” to be ridden.

Singlespeed mountain bikes aside, would I recommend the Passchier? Certainly it does what it says (that is, flexes), and on top of that it’s aesthetically pleasing and quite novel. It is also expensive–$225 for the one I’ve been using, in fact. Meanwhile, the cockpit on my Homer also has a pleasant amount of flex, and while Nitto stuff ain’t cheap, it’s a bargain in comparison; plus, obviously bars made of metal come in a much wider variety of shapes. Ultimately it seems to me the Passchier is a bar for someone who: A) Wants a super flexy, plush cockpit; II) Really likes the way they look. Hey, some people want to pay $225 for a really comfy bar that nobody else is using, and that’s absolutely fine–it’s a luxury item, nothing wrong with that, and if that’s what you’re after then sure, I’d wholeheartedly recommend them. I also have no doubt I’ll end up using them again in some capacity, simply because they feel good and look good and you get to say, “Hey, look at my bamboo bars.” (I could even see putting them back on this bike again, since the older I get the less vigorously I ride it.) But would I seek them out and buy them if they hadn’t fallen into my lap? Well…no, I’m not going to lie. If I wanted a boutiquey bar for my mixed-terrain rambler I’d probably have gotten a Nitto Bullmoose and spent the rest on beer. But I’m not you…which is something or which you should be very grateful.

Anyway, swapping bars means swapping grips. We all have our methods, and these days mine is sticking something in there and then pouring some rubbing alcohol down the grip’s gullet like force-feeding a pet some medicine:

Grip swaps were very much an “Is this trip really necessary?” affair during The Great Rubbing Alcohol Shortage of 2020, but now that the isopropyl is flowing again you’d better believe I’m swapping with abandon.

As for the other orange component, in other swapping news, you may recall I replaced the pins on these Crank Brothers Stamp 1 pedals with longer ones:

This netted an immediate improvement. But they still don’t grip quite like the Stamp 2s, or even the IRD Karbonite pedals I’m using on my RockCombo–which, if you’re looking for an inexpensive plastic pedal, I would highly recommend. Or, if you want that giant Crank Brothers platform, just do yourself a favor and skip the Stamp 1 and go right for the Stamp 2s. Don’t buy these, is what I’m saying. Yes, you can swap the pins, but even then they’re not quite as good as pedals that cost about the same, so why bother?

Pedal quibbles notwithstanding, the shoes were great. I will note that, between my first ride with them and today, I did have occasion to ride with them in a downpour yesterday. After awhile, water went in through the mesh over the toe, and it then pooled inside the shoe–so much so that every few pedal strokes I’d bend a knee so that my foot was upside-down and the water would pour back out the mesh again. So this is not a shoe for rainy days, is what I’m saying–though to be fair, neither are your sneakers. Plus, technically it’s a mountain bike shoe, and only idiots go mountain biking in the rain.

Lastly, further to my last post, a number of people mentioned the “Bata Biker” shoe, which I had never heard of before:

It looks like the company was based in Maryland:

No idea where they are now, but if looks like the love child of a pair of Dettos and a pair of Keds, and if someone brings these back they’re gonna sell a fuckload of them.

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