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Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
My new used bike, description said the levers were scruff'ed, but it was only sticky residue which I wiped off! For all intents and purposes I received a brand new bike! This was the only Shimano GRX equipped/hydraulic brake gravel bike I could find in the $500-800 USD price point. Everything else under $800 is Shimano Claris equipped or lower with mechanical disc brakes. I'm definitely keeping my single speed bike, all this wiring and gearing seems a bit excessive for those times I just want to cruise for fun!

I stayed up until 3am putting it together and adjusting everything. Aluminum frame, GRX 400 groupset, except for the front gearing which is a FSA tempo crankset, hydraulic brakes and WTB nano 700 x 40c tires. It's a size down, but I'm a 'tweener height so I can ride the smaller frame with long stem and it feels fine. Bike definitely looks solid!

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I really like having my thumb bell! :D
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Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
My bike came with a kickstand and I was debating whether to keep it or remove it? After thinking about it, I decided to keep it. I don't have a proper garage space to leave my bikes and it's easier to use the kickstand to prop it up. Weight-wise it's fairly lightweight and I'm not doing any road racing, so I don't think it will impede my cycling all that much! 🤔 :D
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
My bike came with a kickstand and I was debating whether to keep it or remove it? After thinking about it, I decided to keep it. I don't have a proper garage space to leave my bikes and it's easier to use the kickstand to prop it up. Weight-wise it's fairly lightweight and I'm not doing any road racing, so I don't think it will impede my cycling all that much! 🤔 :D
I have a kickstand on one of my bikes, and it does come in useful sometimes. Most of the time I just ignore that it's there.
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I took the new bike out today for a shakedown ride. I changed my mind and opted to remove the kickstand (it just didn't look cool unless I was bike-packing)! I'll probably need to adjust stem length and the rear derailleur will need tuning, because I wasn't able to shift into my last 2 low gears. The aluminum frame feels okay, but I think I'd opt for steel instead if there was available inventory (steel is real). The big highlight is just how much bite the Shimano hydraulic brakes have especially going fast on the downhill. I had to be careful because I skidded the rear a few times on the descent due to hard braking.

Lastly, since I've been riding single speed for awhile, geared felt a bit weird even though I was able to finally conquer the big hills in my neighborhood and attain faster top speed descents. I wasn't used to thinking about shifting up and down versus just focusing more on my pedal cadence, breathing and maintaining momentum!

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Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I just spent a few hours today after riding tuning both the front and rear derailleurs. The internet when used as a depository of collective knowledge, is the most amazing outlet of information on the planet! I was able to watch a few Park Tool tutorials and tune my Shimano GRX derailleurs to perfection! It's interesting to note that Shimano has shifted from Phillips screw derailleur adjusters to allen wrench adjusters. I have to make sure I bring my multi-tool with me now!

I think I'll be ready to attack the uphill mountain trails in the coming days! 🧠 😁
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
The Shimano gear on bike #1 works just fine, even though it's a very basic groupset. The Microshift gear on bike #2 has been a continual source of aggravation, and no amount of video watching or tuning has made it much better. As of this evening, the Microshift gear has been removed and the bike is a single speed, 34:17.
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
The Shimano gear on bike #1 works just fine, even though it's a very basic groupset. The Microshift gear on bike #2 has been a continual source of aggravation, and no amount of video watching or tuning has made it much better. As of this evening, the Microshift gear has been removed and the bike is a single speed, 34:17.
Sorry to hear about your gearing issues. What kind of issues are you encountering that can't be adjusted?
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
From today's Griffith Park/Hollywood uphill ride! A couple things to note: the front and rear derailleur still need some tuning, especially on my highest and lowest gear; I was able to ascend non-stop with the geared bike with a steady, but slower cadence compared to my single speed uphill technique, which powers through faster but requires rest breaks; on the descent, my top speeds were much faster with the 2x10 gear and the hydraulic brakes allowed me to take faster corners, in fact I passed a few roadies who couldn't take the downhill as fast due to braking. Also my impression of aluminum isn't as positive, it was a bit jarring even with the wider/fatter tires. I think in the future I'll probably swap the components over to either a steel or perhaps a carbon gravel frame, but not anytime soon! The WTB Nano 700 x 40C tires roll nicely, in fact WTB tires are starting to become my favorite, they all feel great. Also I shortened the stem (90mm to 70mm), but I'm thinking I might just go with a short MTB stem (45mm) like on my other bike, I like the twitchier response for both uphill and fast downhill riding. ;)

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Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Now I understand the allure of a 1x front chainring setup for geared bikes. I spent all of last night and this morning tuning my front/rear derailleur! If I set the rear properly, then I had to deal with the front to make sure there wasn't any chain rub. If I set the front properly, it possibly affected the rear! If I had both the front and rear dialed in, I then had to contend with the high gear front crank and adjust all over again! Sheesh, now I know why some people just say screw it and go single speed! :roflmao:

Though for all the complexity of a 2x10 gear setup, it was incredibly useful to have that lower gear crank for the uphill. On mine it's a 30t, which gives me significant uphill gearing with the 10 speed cassette. Plus on the downhill, the lower gear 46t let me blast downhill faster than I've done before. Mated with the hydraulic brakes, I could brake into the corners and pickup speed when coming out of the straight aways.

Also I noticed a significant lower heart rate when riding on a geared bike. When things were getting intense, I was able to change gears allowing better energy conservation. From a purely fitness perspective though, single speed is probably a better workout. Just from my fitness tracker reading, on intense single speed rides I'm about 30 bpm higher than on a geared bike. Anyways, just wanted to post my musings so far!
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I was out riding my latest SS build around our small neighborhood this morning. There is a dip in the road to my house where it goes down into a ravine, crosses a creek, and climbs the other side. I'm either going to get a lot more fit this summer, or my legs are going to fall off!
One thing I noticed is that I don't stand on the pedals as much with the geared bike unless I'm doing a hard sprint. On my single speeds, I'm constantly mashing the pedals once I encounter elevation. Honestly if anything, I think picking up a geared bike has made me appreciate my single speed bike even more!
 

Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
From today's morning ride! I literally just went out my front door and hit up this local hidden park only known by the locals. It's actually a state park and the trails are open to bikes! It's awesome because there are no bicyclists and only a few hikers/joggers who come here. I think I could spend an entire day here shredding these trails going up and down! A couple things to note, I think I could really benefit from an 11 gear rear cassette, either that or find a smaller front chainring. Though that's when my single speed training kicks in and I just grind it out!

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The ranger station:
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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
Man, you are so fortunate. The only place I can safely ride right out of my door is within our small landlocked neighborhood, and it's only .6 mile per lap. No way I'd ever take my bike out on the main road out front. I have to load my bike on my car and drive it someplace else to get in a decent ride.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
I tried something new this morning, something I'd only read about and wasn't entirely convinced it was a legitimate option. Instead of using a chain tensioner on Big Red, I used a spare 30T chainring as a "ghost ring" to keep the chain under tension. Despite my concerns of it jumping out of place, it worked like a champ, even when I had to dig into the pedals to climb a hill. It was so quiet I kept looking back to make sure it was still there.

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Jonathan F/2

Top Veteran
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I tried something new this morning, something I'd only read about and wasn't entirely convinced it was a legitimate option. Instead of using a chain tensioner on Big Red, I used a spare 30T chainring as a "ghost ring" to keep the chain under tension. Despite my concerns of it jumping out of place, it worked like a champ, even when I had to dig into the pedals to climb a hill. It was so quiet I kept looking back to make sure it was still there.

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The bike parts manufacturers will send the bike mafia after you for not spending a ridiculous amount of cash on a small custom part! BTW - Why is it you're going single speed and I'm now going geared? :D

This bike obsession is getting ridiculous. After getting my geared bike, all of sudden I started looking at another gravel bike with a carbon frame/fork, full GRX 600 groupset w/2x11 gearing! Of course trimming about 5-7 pounds of weight and getting that 11th gear would cost another $1000 USD extra over my current geared bike that pretty much covers 95% of my needs, but getting that extra 5% of performance is tempting! :roflmao:
 

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