Passing this on as a public service:
QBP recalling some Salsa forks (Vaya and La Cruz)
Thanks to BRAIN for publishing this information. I’ll be checking my Vaya’s fork ASAP (turns out mine was not part of the recall).
When I built up my Black Mountain Cycles frameset, I pretty much knew that I would be replacing the stock pads on the Shimano BR-R650 brakes before the bike left the repair stand. In the past, I’ve espoused the virtues of Kool-Stop (salmon) and Yokozuna pads, but being the curious type, I wanted to try something different.
Customer reviews on various online retailers’ sites consistently praised the Dura-Ace (7900) pads. Despite not being thrilled with other stock Shimano pads, I decided to give the Dura-Ace pads a try. The 7900 pads–officially designated as R55C3–are rather unassuming looking. The black compound doesn’t exactly scream top-of-the-line, and there are no visual cues denoting their status in the Shimano hierarchy. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would have easily mistaken them for the stock units that they would be replacing.
The Dura-Ace pads fit any Shimano-compatible holder. Since I was using the stock R650 holders, a 2mm hex key was the only tool necessary to complete the pad swap. To insure the best possible performance, I cleaned the rims’ brake tracks with rubbing alcohol, and lightly sanded the pads to remove any mold release or “shine.”
Remember what it was like when you rode a bicycle with really good caliper brakes for the first time? That’s how it felt with the R55C3 pads. Grippy, but not grabby. Plenty of modulation, and absolute silence from the get-go. Braking was so good with the Dura-Ace pads that I was able to adjust the brakes to allow for more lever travel while still having plenty of power for panic stops.
Shimano claims that R55C3 pads have twice the wet-weather stopping (and durability) compared to the company’s R55C2 pads. I wasn’t able to verify that claim, but I can say that the C3 pads performed much better than I expected in wet conditions. In dry weather, the Dura-Ace pads offered some of the best performance that I’ve experienced to date.
In my previous experience, I found that Shimano’s stock pads had a tendency to pick up and retain pieces of road grit (and occasionally, the rim material itself). This lead to poor, noisy braking, and caused accelerated rim wear (and scoring). I’m pleased to report that the 7900 pads are far more rim-friendly than other Shimano pads I’ve used. Pad wear has been more noticeable with the Dura-Ace pads, but the increased stopping power and control is well worth it, in my opinion.
Every decent mechanic knows that you finish off new cables with crimped-on tips. The tips protect you from the cables’ sharp ends, and they keep the ends from fraying or unraveling. If you work on bikes long enough, however, you’ll eventually find yourself needing remove that freshly-cut-and-crimped cable.
No big deal–just cut off the end cable and start over, right? Yes and no. If you look at the end of a new, single-ended cable, you’ll see that the individual strands are fused/welded together during manufacturing. When you cut a cable–even using quality cutters–you expose the ends of the strands. While this is normally not an issue, it can make inserting the cable difficult–or worse–cause it to unravel when threading it through the housing.
This is exactly what happened to me when I attempted to install a double-ended derailleur cable. One end was Shimano/SRAM-compatible, and the other end (which I needed) was compatible with Campagnolo shifters. I grabbed my trusty cable cutters, lopped off the un-needed end, and proceeded to install the now-compatible cable. No dice. The sharpened end of the cable snagged when threaded through the shifter, and after repeated unsuccessful attempts, one strand broke free, causing the cable to unravel.
I could have resorted to using a single-ended cable, but I had purchased several of the double-ended cables (hard to argue with a $1.99 price tag), and was bound and determined to make the them work. Initially I considered soldering the end of the cable, but as luck would have it, I didn’t have any flux that was compatible with the stainless steel cables. What I did have, however, was a small bottle of enamel hobby paint.
After cleaning off any remaining oil or grease with rubbing alcohol, I carefully dipped the freshly-cut end of the cable into the bottle of paint. When the paint had dried completely, I carefully removed any excess with a few swipes of emery cloth. Threading the paint-sealed cable through the shifter was effortless, with no snags or unraveling.
Since then, I’ve experimented with Super Glue to treat trimmed cable ends. Super Glue has the advantage that it dries almost instantly, and unlike paint, there’s no need to wait several hours for it to cure.
I am a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. It’s that way with saddles, pedals, and drop-style handlebars. When it comes to the latter, my bar-of-choice is the Ritchey Logic Curve model.
Ritchey’s Logic Curve bars feature a short reach (73mm) and shallow drop (128mm). I’ve used 2nd- and 3rd-generation Campagnolo Ergopower levers with the Logic Curve bars, and when set up with the ramps flat, the transition to and from the hoods is pretty much seamless. Moving to the drops is easy thanks to the double-radius profile.
Ritchey offers the Logic Curve in several models and finishes. All feature a 31.8mm center section, and no-slip grit at the stem and brake lever mounting surfaces. Widths range from 38cm to 44cm (measured center/center at the levers). While some riders may bemoan the lack of cable grooves, I find that it allows for more freedom when positioning the levers and routing the cables.
My Classic Logic Curve bars have been in service for three years, and not once have they slipped or creaked. Despite swapping my Comp Logic Curve bars between between several bikes and stems, they’re as secure and silent as the first time I installed them. Both pairs bars have seen lots of bumpy, off-road miles, and I’ve been unable to detect any unwanted flex.
If you’re looking for a versatile, short-and-shallow drop bar that’s also comfortable in the drops, do yourself a favor and check out Ritchey Logic Curve line of handlebars.
Over the past three years of bicycle commuting, I’ve experimented with panniers (front- and rear-mounted), backpacks, and traverse-style saddlebags for carrying daily necessities (clothing, lunch, repair kit, wallet, cell phone). Many thousands of miles later, the British-style saddlebag has proven to be my luggage of choice.
Traditional saddlebags are not for everyone, though. Most require a saddle with bag loops, and larger-capacity bags benefit greatly from the addition of a secondary support (or a conventional rear rack). These limitations became glaringly apparent when testing new saddles for an upcoming article. Between the lack of bag loops, and rails that wouldn’t accommodate a bolt-on support, I began searching for an alternative to my Carradice/Bagman combo.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to search far–the Carradice SQR line of saddlebags don’t require saddles with bag loops, or any additional supports. Instead, the company’s SQR bags utilize an integrated frame that attaches to a seatpost-mounted receptor. The included clamps are compatible with seatposts up to 32mm in diameter, and larger clamps are available for seatposts up to 40mm. Installation only requires a 5mm hex key.
Once the SQR bracket is installed, attaching or removing the bag is quick and easy (and doesn’t require any fiddling with straps, etc). That convenience doesn’t come at the expense of security. I rode over many miles bumpy singletrack (and broken pavement), and even with a full load, the bag (or bracket) never once budged.
Carradice provided GRAVELBIKE with samples of their SQR Slim and SQR Tour bags. Both feature a 16 litre capacity, and have a max load rating of 10kg. Like their more-traditional saddlebags, the Slim and Tour are constructed from waterproof cotton duck. A mudguard strip on the underside offers additional protection. If you’re wondering just how weatherproof cotton can be, my gear remained dry during rain so heavy that it took three days for my shoes to dry completely.
The Slim and Tour share the same total capacity, but differ in form factor. As the name implies, the Slim has a more compact profile, which improves clearance on smaller bikes. My Vaya’s saddle height is 73cm, and while there was sufficient room for either bag, I found that the Slim was easier to attach and remove. For sheer convenience, however, I preferred the Tour’s external, quick-release pockets (both bags are equipped with an interior, envelope-style pocket for wallet, keys, or phone).
To avoid the “droop” often encountered with Carradice’s traverse-style bags, the SQR line features internal stiffeners that help maintain the bags’ profile even when empty. Instead of leather straps and traditional buckles, the SQR bags utilize nylon straps with quick-release buckles. Reflective logo badges offer additional visibility, and LED blinky lights can be attached to the lid via nylon straps.
How do the SQR bags compare to Carradice’s traverse-style saddlebags? Heavy loads have less of an effect on handling than a conventional saddlebag and (Bagman) support. I did detect some contact between the SQR bags and the backs of my thighs, but it was still less than with a conventional saddlebag attached without a support. Weight-wise, you save approximately 100g over a Carradice Nelson and original (steel) Bagman.
The SQR Slim has a suggested retail price of £75.00, and the SQR Tour retails for £79.00. Additional SQR mounts are available for £14.00. Note that all prices include VAT.
Disclosure: Carradice provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.