Albatross!

The Soma Double Cross in townie configuration.

Lots of bikey stuff going on around here lately. It makes a welcome distraction from the news, which as per usual is mostly bad. And likewise from the weather, which is mostly hot.

Since my Voodoo Wazoo has become a kinda-sorta 700c mountain bike, I decided to turn the Soma Double Cross into a townie for short hops hither and thither, or even long ones.

The Double Cross had been rigged as a light touring bike, with XT triple crank and eight-speed XT rear derailleur, drop bar, bar-end shifters, and aero levers (augmented with top-mounted brake levers) to operate the Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis. Now it sports an Albatross bar and Dia-Compe SS-6 brake levers from Rivendell, and of course the bar-cons stuck around for the ride.

Albatross!

At 27.2 pounds it’s nearly 5 pounds lighter than either of my Soma Saga touring bikes, so it makes for a sporty little errand boy.

The Bianchi Orso 105, up against The Wall of Science.

Meanwhile, the next bike in the Adventure Cyclist review pipeline is a Bianchi Orso with 11-speed 105 STI, hydraulic stoppers and thru-axles. Quite the technological advance from eight-speed XT with bar-cons, rim brakes and quick-releases, or so the industry would have you believe. Engineers gotta engineer, marketers gotta market. Still, I wonder when we’re going to run out of 50/34 cranks and 11-32 cassettes so a brother can get a touring drivetrain up in this bitch.

All this wrenching and riding and whatnot makes a feller hungry, so last night I whipped up a mess of chicken tacos in salsa verde with a side of Mexican rice. Anybody who thinks I make a shambles as a mechanic should see what I did to the kitchen. It was worth it, though. And now we have leftovers. Huzzah, etc.

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10 Responses to “Albatross!”

  1. mooremediaone Says:

    It’s amazing how a nice pair of bars can alter the look of the bike so much. Your DC looks gorgeous!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s a beaut’, iddn’t it? The old 42cm drop bar was a bit narrow (I mostly ride 44s now) and I liked the idea of having an old-fashioned bar like the 55cm Albatross on at least one bike.

      As Grant notes at Rivendell: “If you ride a bike and have more than two or three of them, you ought to have this bar.”

      I have more than two or three, so there you have it.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        27.2 lbs! Hell my saddle weighs that much. I noticed your entire fleet with those minimal lightweight saddles and was jealous. Not of the saddles but that your skinny arse was happy on them. I know…ride more, whine less.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    You can wrench on my bikes anytime. What time is dinner tonight? Would you prefer that I bring wine or beer? Can Duffy come along?

    That DC is looking like the ultimate errand runner and the perfect quick overnight touring bike. I see you found a place for that Ortlieb mirror. Mine is still in the parts box after a quick trial run on the Soma a few months ago. I thought a flat bar would be a good place for it. I am interested in what you think of it.

    If I owned the Orso, the first things to go would be the crankset and brake set. Other than that it looks interesting. Like the colors. I am looking forward to your review, although I think you are working too hard.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m too bloody slow as a wrench. It takes me forever to do stuff that a pro would knock out in short order.

      The O’Briens are always welcome in these parts as long as El Duffo doesn’t tree the cats (or the deer, or me).

      The jury is still out on the mirror. It needs more real-world testing. I was shifting it around and about on a coffee-shop run and never really did find what I thought would be the ideal location for it.

      The Orso, meanwhile, shares some DNA with the Volpe and also (I think) with the Zurigo Disc. Orso and Zurigo both have that 34×32 low end, which is too tall for a geezer like me to carry anything heavier than a lifetime of sins. But maybe a youngun could make that dawg hunt.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    The Orso seems to be sold like a lot of bikes nowdays–throw on whatever components are forced down your throat by the component makers, and damned the idea that the bike is supposedly designed for “… the greatest variety of rides from commuting to centuries, long distance touring to backroad bikepacking, and every potential adventure in-between.”

    Yeah, I call BS. Bikepacking or long distance touring with a 34-32 low gear? Jeeze, I have a set of wheels on that for my Salsa LaCruz and wouldn’t dream of loading that gear ratio down with my Fat Italian Ass and Lotsa Stuff and heading for the Continental Divide.

    The Shimano folks could design a system with a 11-42 rear and say, a 48-32 front compact double using their XT-CS-M8000 cassette and provide for shifting interchangability with suitable bar ends and a wide range derailleur. That would work.

  4. Esteban O’ Says:

    Is that a 105 brake hood or are you just glad to see me?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      This is my first go-round with 11-speed hydraulic brifters from Shimano. When you look down on ’em from the saddle they resemble the cowhorns once seen on time-trial bikes Back in the Day™. Either that or Alien action figures. Maybe the love child of Darth Vader and Cheech Wizard?

      They shift really nicely, though, especially little ring to big. It’s like typing a character on a keyboard: Click, there it is. Worlds away from my old eight-speed STI.

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Favoring the Riv Joe Appaloosa 90% of the time with big ole upright bars and Paul shifter thingies. Slow but sure footed as hell and taking the shoulder of the road,even if dirt, is cake with the 44’s anchored to the rims. But today I hopped on the Airborne Carpe Diem with fat 35 Conti Cyclocross Speeds and did some hill work. And work it was with the temp at 91 with drenching humidity as I staggered home. After a good number of years the STI Ultegra shifting is going south. I see bar ends coming as I won’t spend the insane $$ for Ultegra STI levers. But first, a visit to my local bike wizards at On Two Wheels to see about possible rehab. Those guys actually know how to FIX things!

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