Posts Tagged ‘Steelman Eurocross’

A good example of a bad example

July 30, 2017

A break in the traffic.

Ride Your Own Damn’ Bike Week has been extended, by popular demand.

After the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff came the Bianchi Zurigo, the Soma Double Cross, and today, one of my two Steelman Eurocrosses.

This bike is isn’t totally old-school: It has eight-speed Shimano STI, not bar-end shifters; Michelin Jet clinchers, not tubies; and a RockShox seatpost.

There’s life in the old gal yet.

But it has most of the other hallmarks: steel frame and fork; 46/36 chainrings and 11-28 cassette; Ultegra derailleurs; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantilever brakes with SwissStop VikingPro pads (and levers reversed so the left brakes the rear wheel); Dura-Ace hubs and Mavic Open 4 CD hoops; Selle Italia Flite saddle; and Time ATAC pedals.

The whole shebang goes like 22.5 pounds, which is what makes that 36×28 low end suitable on the steep bits for Your Humble Narrator, who given our national spasticity vis-à-vis health care would rather not be popping a gasket anytime soon.

Anyway, I hadn’t ridden it in the better part of quite some time, and I ordinarily shun the trails on weekends, but today I took a chance and had a wonderful time. There were lots of folks out, but I encountered zero attitude problems. Nothing but smiles and friendly greetings, with lots of the old Alphonse-and-Gaston action. (“After you, Alphonse.” “No, you first, my dear Gaston.”)

There was one down side. I was descending a narrow bit and saw a father and son on mountain bikes climbing toward me, so I pulled over to give them room to maneuver. As they approached Pop explained to Junior that a descending rider should always yield trail to one ascending, adding that I “was setting a good example.”

Thus, with a single phrase, my career was ruined. I wonder if it’s too late to get my old rim-rat job back on The New Mexican copy desk.

At ‘cross purposes

May 5, 2017

When it comes to taking a tonic for what ails you, there’s nothing like a little sand in your craw.

After yesterday’s health-care debacle I prescribed myself an antidepressant: 90 minutes on a Steelman Eurocross cyclocross bike, doing laps around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The old beastie still performs (I’m talking about the bike here). Reynolds 853 tubes; Shimano Ultegra eight-speed STI; 175mm RaceFace 48/36 cranks and a 12-28 cassette; Mavic Open Pro SUP rims with Dura-Ace hubs, DT spokes and Michelin Jet tires; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, augmented by Froggleg top-mounted levers; Cinelli Eubios bar with Off the Front tape; Ritchey stem; Time ATAC pedals; and a RockShox boingy post wearing the usual Selle Italia Flite saddle.

Riding a racing bike after a steady diet of touring machines felt seriously weird at first, but it started getting good to me after a half hour or so. Nearly slid out in one sandy hairpin — that rear Jet is starting to look like a slick — but happily, I did not require medical attention, as cyclocross and crashing are both pre-existing conditions.

Happy trails

January 2, 2017
Don't let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Don’t let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Right. New Year’s Day has come and gone, and it’s all downhill from here.

Instead of Hoppin’ John and cornbread, deadlines are on the menu — print reviews of the Trek 520 and Specialized Sequoia are due this month at Adventure Cyclist, along with video of the Sam Hillborne. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, meanwhile, wants a column and cartoon.

The struggle continues.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year's Day.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, the first ride of the year is in the books. I performed a cassette transplant on the mango Steelman Eurocross to replace a 26-tooth cog with a 28 — 36×26 is too tall for some of the trails I ride around here — and went out and about for an hour.

Riding touring bikes has spoiled me for cyclocross. I need to think about rearranging the technology on this Eurocross, losing the balky old eight-speed Ultegra brifters for bar-cons and aero brake levers; shortening and raising the stem a tad; and going wider with the handlebar. Also, and too, pulling a few teeth on the chainrings, going to 46/34 from 48/36.

And while I’m at it, I could go nine-speed. Forward, into the past!

I’m probably stuck as regards tires — 32mm is what I’m rocking now, and I nearly slid off a greasy off-camber bit and into a ditch full of sharp rocks and cacti because I’m used to riding nice, fat, squishy 38s and up. But I think I’ll be lucky if I can shoehorn a 35 into that rear triangle.

And if I’m unlucky, or unfit? Well, I guess I can always ride the Soma Double Cross, which already has bar-cons and aero levers, plus a triple crank and 700x42s. Gotta look for that silver lining, don’t you know.

Along those lines, consider this: At least Mariah Carey won’t be the next president. Too soon?

Stop the machine

November 15, 2016
Around and around and around we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Around and around and around we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.

Sometimes you have to start the machine to stop it.

The ticking in my head seemed a little ominous today, so after I finished a “Shop Talk” cartoon for Bicycle Retailer, consulted with a few colleagues, and walked The Boo, I stepped away from the Mac for a short, “fast” cyclocross ride, in which “fast” was in comparison to, oh, I don’t know — continental drift?

Anyway, it was a beautiful afternoon, nearly everyone I encountered seemed to be in a good mood for no good reason, and as a skull-flusher I recommend it to you without hesitation. The world will still be there when you get back.

As my man Garrison Keillor says, “politics is not everything. Life goes on.”

Unless you’re Mose Allison, that is. Goddamn. He’s left me with my mind on vacation and my mouth working overtime.

 

My (Euro)cross to bear

October 15, 2016
Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

More cycling yesterday. I think I’ve finally broken my annual post-Interbike slump.

For some reason, probably that we’re suddenly in the middle of October, I decided to pull my favorite Steelman Eurocross off its hook, give it a bit of a wash and brush-up (plus two new Michelin Jets), and go chase myself around the Elena Gallegos Open Space for an hour or so.

I like to enjoy this sort of foolishness on a weekday, during business hours, the trails come weekends being thick with body-armored double-boingers, texting dog-walkers, the iPlod People and other impediments to forward motion. No need to have an audience while one struggles up a rocky pitch in the 36×26, with 700×30 tires.

One of these days I need to give the old beast more than some fresh rubber. Nine-speed Ultegra, maybe? That eight-speed STI is the velo-equivalent of stone knives and bearskins these days, though it seemed just the ticket back when I still had a song on my lips and a spring in my steps.

The news just repeats itself

August 19, 2016

Now and then I miss working in a newsroom. This is not one of those times.

Most days, daily journalism is like any other gig, only more so. Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of pandemonium.

But news in the era of what Charlie Pierce calls He, Trump, is a whole other ballgame. It’s like trying to sip delicately from a fire hose hooked to a septic tank. It can’t be done, and nobody should have to try, not even for money.

And certainly not for free.

Instead I’ve been trying — and mostly succeeding — in paying attention to the bicycle, may God save her and all who sail in her.

There’s Bicycle Retailer‘s big 25th-anniversary celebration, for example. I need to dash off a column and cartoon on that topic, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as I’ve had 25 years of practice.

And I’ve ridden four different bikes in four days — Sam Hillborne, Steelman Eurocross, Soma Saga, Jones Steel Diamond — and loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute — the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 is a tad tall on steep, sandy single-track for an auld fella — but still, it beats perching in front of the Mac, letting the shit monsoon wash over me.

This morning I got up, grabbed some coffee, and when Herself went out to walk The Boo, I shut off NPR’s “Morning Edition” and started playing some John Prine instead. Sometimes a fella needs a little country to restore his faith in a bigger one.

Steel(man) is real, man

May 3, 2014
My main racing bike from back in the day, a Steelman Eurocross, slightly the worse for wear after two hours of dusty trail.

My main racing bike from back in the day, a Steelman Eurocross, slightly the worse for wear after two hours of dusty trail.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again today. And I must declare myself a shameless hypocrite.

For years I’ve inveighed against gram-counters, contending that a strong black cup of coffee and a productive few minutes in the reading room pre-ride is immeasurably preferable to flushing a fat wad of coarse notes down the loo of the latest and greatest bike-lightening comosellama.

Well, yesterday I spent two hours aboard the Salsa Vaya on the mean streets, bike paths and bumpy byways of Bibleburg, and today I did likewise astride one of my old racing bikes, a Steelman Cycles Eurocross.

And whaddaya know? I felt considerably friskier on the elderly ‘cross bike than I did on the young gravel grinder.

Let’s go to the tale of the tape, shall we?

The Salsa Vaya tips the scales at 28.9 pounds.

The Steelman Eurocross weighs in at 22 pounds.

Hm. A 6.9-pound dump is not out of the question, depending upon what was had for dinner. But it seems unlikely.

So for the moment I’m forced to declare myself full of shit.

 

 

Free at last

April 22, 2014
My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again yesterday. The office was feeling a bit cramped, what with all the computers, books, cartooning tools, audio-video equipment, and voices in my head, and having a bike clamped to a trainer in there — even if that bike was a Steelman Eurocross — didn’t exactly help matters.

So I liberated the Eurocross and myself from bondage. The tire pile in the garage included a serviceable pair of 700×35 Maxxis Razes, so I slapped ’em on and rolled over to Palmer Park to make a fool of myself on the single-track for a spell.

This is one of my old eight-speed racing bikes from back in the day, and like all the others it’s been through some changes, so I forget what I’ve got on it drivetrain-wise — seems likely it’s either 46/34 chainrings with a 12-26 cassette or 48/36 with a 12-28 — but you’d be surprised how well an old feller can go uphill on a bike that’s five or six pounds lighter than what he usually rides.

Today I was back on the Kona Sutra, which is next in line for an Adventure Cyclist video shoot — the old Quentin Ferrentino treatment, ho ho ho. The Sutra weighs 27.2 pounds without pedals, wears a pair of 700×32 Continental Contacts, and no, I did not ride it up any sketchy bits of single-track, thank you very much. Not even in the granny gear.

But I have some burly off-road rubber in that tire pile, and with the Sutra’s racks and fenders off I bet I can squeeze some fatties on, and then look out, Palmer Park. Bologna on a Kona, comin’ through!

Bikes, bikes and more bikes

April 4, 2013
Jeff Jones bikes

The Jones Steel Diamond in its road and off-road configurations. Photo courtesy Jeff Jones

Lately I’ve been enjoying an interlude between bike reviews, which has been nice, as it gave me a chance to get reacquainted with my own fleet of two-wheelers.

In the past week I’ve ridden my trusty Voodoo Nakisi drop-bar 29er, one of my two venerable Steelman Eurocrosses, and the only truly custom bike in the Mad Dog garage, a nifty Nobilette that’s something of an all-rounder, a cyclo-cross-slash-touring bike that’ll take a rear rack and fenders.

This weekend, all that ends with an invasion from Oregon.

Review bikes are en route from Co-Motion (a Divide Rohloff), Jeff Jones Bicycles (Steel Diamond) and Bike Friday (Silk Road Alfine).

I’ve ridden a Bike Friday before — you can read my review of the New World Tourist Select in the archives at Adventure Cyclist — but the Silk Road Alfine is something of a step up, with Shimano’s Alfine hub, Gates belt drive and Avid BB7 disc brakes. Should be a giggle.

The Co-Motion is likewise a belt-drive bike, but with big wheels and the Rohloff hub, which I’ve ridden before on the Van Nicholas Amazon Rohloff (yes, I reviewed that one too). I’ll get to spend a bit more time with the Co-Motion than I did with the Van Nicholas, and I’m very much looking forward to it, as the Co-Motion seems (on the Innertubes, anyway) more or less ideal for the sort of riding I do around Bibleburg.

The Jeff Jones bike, meanwhile, looks like the sort of machinery we all could use come the Apocalypse. That’s it up there at the top of the post, the red bike next to the otherworldly black beast with the tractor tires. I’ll confess to a mild yearning for a fatbike — as in, if somebody gave me one, I’d ride it — but until some product manager loses his or her mind, the Jones bike looks to be about as close as I’m gonna get to that little fantasy.