Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New member of the family

As the saying goes, the correct number of bikes for bicycle enthusiast is n+1. I have already seven bikes in my carage, and two old frames (mtb and road). I have been lusting over a new cyclocross bike with disc brakes for many years. After all, my Ridley Crossbow is from 2003 and is outdated in today's standards. More importantly, many of the parts are pretty worn out, especially the rear rim that is literally very close to explode.

Recently I started a new work as a professional bike mechanic, so it was very convenient to start looking for a new cyclocross bike. It's a bike that I ride a lot on my commutes. But for a new bike I wanted full bikepacking capabilities, like rack and fender mounts, and an ability to use Porcelain Rocket MSA handlebar pack. Kona has Rove and Rove Al in it's freerange platform. I was initially looking for the more affordable aluminium version, Rove Al. But my size, 53cm, has a number of wrong things: crankarm lenght 170mm when it should be 172,5mm, stem lenght 80mm vs. 90mm, Shimano Claris 8-speed components and the aluminum fork is allegedly very hard. And the grey color is not nearly as beautiful as the deep purple of the steel Rove. It didn't take long time to change my mind.

A photo bomb of 30 shots here, sorry for some repeating but this bike looks so great!

The first ride was my morning commute on Saturday. I was completely blown away! This bike is so, so comfortable to ride and it is still very fast. Steel is real! It beats Ridley Crossbow by a huge margin. I rode a steel road bike for a couple of seasons in the late 90s, so I had forgotten how great frame material steel is. My current road bike, carbon Ridley Excalibur, is very nice but this bike is more comfortable. There is no point to compare it to my 9:ZERO:7 fatbikes as these bikes are so different.

I did a gravel grinding ride on Sunday with my brother and another commute on Tuesday. Those rides confirmed that this bike is almost magical! I'm very impressed with the accuracy of the SRAM Apex groupset with X9 rear derailleur. And the Clement Xplor'r MSO tires rolls surprisingly well. I'm really looking forward to great commuting and some occasional bikepacking trips with it.