Test Ride on the Rando Bike

I had picked up my new randonneuring bike from Dennis at C & O Cycles on Sunday but didn’t get to ride it until yesterday. I have to say I’m impressed. It rides beautifully and is faster than I thought it would be. It’s also lighter than I thought, given everything that is on it. It really rolls down the road quickly without beating me up. The stiff(er) aluminum frame really transfers power well, but doesn’t feel chattery on the road at all. The turning is in-line with this style of frame – not twitchy, but quick enough to get the job done. I can also easily ride this bike with no hands, denoting the steadiness I hoped I would find here. Below is a pic of the frame from Nashbar.


Build specs – will update a little more when I have the bike beside me –

I started with an 54cm dark, metallic-green, aluminum Nashbar touring frame and fork that I got from Craigslist in Lancaster, brand new, still in the box. I then added a set of Dura Ace 9 speed bar-end shifters that I got from the C-list in DC. After that, everything was new. I put an Ascent carbon fiber seat post on the bike, supporting a black Planet Bike A.R.S. men’s saddle ( which I like because it is longer than the women’s version, and wider at the back, with nice gel cushies for your sit–bones and lots of cut out room in the center for your soft tissue). I then added Nitto Randonneuring bars at 42 c wide, with Fizik soft touch black bar tape and vibration dampening gels under it. The stem is an Origin 8 17degree stem with a white origin 8 headset and spacers. There is also a white Origin 8 seat collar adding a bit of bling to the seatpost area. An Origin 8 trekking crankset with Origin 8 front and rear derailleur make up the drive train. Gracing the black crank arms are white Shimano double sided spd pedals. The wheels are custom-built Sun double-walled rims with a Schmidt Son dynamo hub for the front, with 28 spokes supporting the rim. The back is a 36 hole Sun rim, double walled as well. A Shimano 9 speed cassette – 12-32 – handles the gearing for the bike. Carrying the bike down the road are 700 x 35c Panaracer Pasela Tourguard tires with a wire bead. Velo Orange hammered fenders keep the grime off me and my drive train, and the Velo Orange Pass Hunter rack will support a bag before too long. A Vetta silver rack does duty at the rear of the bike so that I can haul a rack bag or whatever.

I also wrapped the chain stays in black electrical tape on the chain side and black handlebar tape on the other side. I figured if I didn’t do this immediately, the paint job wold suffer before long.

Overall, this bike felt comfortable and easy to handle – I believe it will fulfill its purpose – randonneuring and long distance rides – admirably and with aplomb!!!


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