Monday, August 15, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes ...

So about a month ago, I had an appointment at Evolution Pro Bike in Buckingham for a bike fit with the Misfit. I always knew the bars sat higher than optimal for XC, but I wanted to get a professional eye on it and Scott is about as good as they come. He set me up on my road bike when I bought it there and the only tweaks I ever had to make there were to raise the saddle a little when I had broken it in, but that's a typical change with a new bike. The changes included sliding the saddle forward to better position my hips over the bottom bracket, and slamming the headset as low as it could go. Scott also suggested that I swap out the riser bar for a flat bar to further lower my hand position.

One problem with that, though -- my stem allows 25.4 mm diameter for the bar, and apparently those are pretty hard to come by in flat bar these days. So, since I bought the stem from Misfit, I knew their bars would be made to fit them and I ordered a Nu Bar to replace my Ritchey Riser. I knew it was going to be an adjustment because of two things -- first, the Nu Bar is considerably shorter than my riser and, second, it has a 15 degree sweep. That's a huge difference, and I was pretty sure that was going to take some getting used to.

But my real first problem turned out to be getting the old bar off.

Well, not so much the bar, but the grips off the bar. I had a set of Lizard Skins lock-on grips, but grit and sweat had worked it's way under the grips and pretty much fused them to the bar. I had to chisel them off with a screwdriver and a hammer. This is what the riser looked like after I managed to finally get them off:

I don't think I'll ever get the rest of that gunk off the bar either. The grips were a pain in the ass to get off. I had to thoroughly shred them. And all of this happened in about three months (I had just replaced the grips in May.) If the bar is shot, that would really suck. I guess I'll have to pull the grips off and clean the bars more often from now on, especially in the summer.

These were new at the start of the summer ...

So anyway, I got them pulled off, and replaced the bar. It was just as I expected -- a big change:

Slammed all the way to the headset

A completely new profile

The view from the cockpit really emphasizes the sweep.

Tonight, I got out for a ride. Apparently, it rained a record amount in Philly yesterday (didn't see it to the north of the city, though.) I didn't want to ride the muck in Wissahickon, and I really wanted a chance to get used to the bar before I took it on those trails anyway. So I headed over to the Perkiomen Trail at Spring Mount and did a ride out to Oaks. (It was actually a lot of fun -- I never got the whole "rail trail" thing, but I think I'm starting to figure it out.) Anyway ... I really liked the bar. It did take some getting used to and I think my hands and more importantly my forearms will have to adapt to the new position, but I definitely felt more natural on the climbs -- less like I was pulling and centered out further over the bar when I was out of the saddle. And I'm not sure that I noticed much difference on the descents (which was odd, I thought.) All in all, a fun and insightful night!

1 comment:

  1. I just went through the same thing with my grips. Had to cut them off and take a wire wheel on a drill to get off that oxidization. There getting pulled now once a week and wiped off weather they need it or not.