Keywords: almanzo,bike of the month,gravel ride,u.p.
BOTM: Steve Hed Special Edition - part 2
Gerard Vroomen - 23-May-2016
As you may remember, this month's Bike Of The Month
is my personal bike. And as you can see from the photos (which were from SeaOtter, not Almanzo
as you'll see), there are some odd choices here. Let me try to explain them:
- As you can see, this is the Steve Hed Special Edition with the custom blue logos, and to match that there are blue bolts, the partially blue KMC chain and the blue thru-axle.
- I prefer a single chainring, but I also want a large range. And for this bike, I preferred Shimano as that's what Steve Hed installed on his Triple Crown. To get the range, I chose an XTR rear derailleur, to make it compatible with STI levers I had to go for the Di2 version (although to be honest, I'm more than fine with cable shifting). Just as an aside, although you can shift the Shimano Di2 mountain bike derailleurs with the road bike shifters, you cannot mix the two derailleurs. Meaning, the front and rear Di2 derailleurs have to be from the same category, you cannot have a rear mountainbike derailleur and a front road derailleur. So with an XTR rear derailleur, that pretty much means no front derailleur as a road derailleur won't shift and a mountain front derailleur can't be attached properly.
- Comfort trumps everything, so I ride with a Brooks saddle. Not with the one pictured here, that was a mistake, but a nicely worn-in B15 Swallow.
- When you take the U.P. on fast roads, it's nice to have your saddle on the proper road bike height. But when you mount the 650b wheels and hit very tricky singletrack, it's nice to lower the saddle for the descents. That's true on many mountain bikes, it's definitely true on an U.P. that is pushing the limits. So the dropper seatpost seems like a good idea. Haven't really tried it out much yet, there seems to be a fair amount of stiction in there right now and it won't pop up to its original height so that's annoying. A lockout on the post would have been OK for me in this case, but this one has a nice, small remote and it looks pretty slick with everything routed internally.
- Cockpit is 3T, of course, and I went with the Tornova bar which is little-known but my favourite. The top section is a bit bigger than normal, so it really avoids undue pressure on the hands. The drops are old-school, round, not ergo, which really gives you a much better sense of control when it matters. For Almanzo, I flipped the stem up to save my back, and I actually quite liked it, but I'll flip it back down again asap.
- Tires are the 40c Nanos from WTB, the greatest 700x40c tire I think. You can ride almost anything on that. IMPORTANT NOTE: The Nano 40c are at the limit of what fits on the U.P., not in width obviously (650b x 2.1" fits too) but they are actually slightly taller than the 650b. And in combination with the wide HED Ardennes rim they are over the limit, so I can't really recommend it. Given the variation each tire has and the different rim widths, make sure you check if it works on your bike and if you want to avoid scratching the frame, you may want to put a sticker on the back of the seattube. Depending on the weather I might change to 650b and 2.1" Nanos for the Dirty Kanza to fill in that gap between "almost anything" and "anything".
- The crank is the THM Clavicula SE crank. One of my favourite companies, just no-nonsense with great products.
- And of course last but not least, the wheels are Ardennes with custom logos, it is after all a Steve Hed Special Edition.
So that's it, we still have a few of the Special Edition frames left, or if you prefer brown with the standard white logos instead of the blue, we have some of those as well. Or of course orange. So really, no excuse not to get one.
In the meantime, enjoy the gallery!
Comments & Questions