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Being a Winter Warrior on my Devinci

December 8, 2010 1 comment

Now that the snow is here (and then some!!) still not at all ready to stop riding through the tough Canadian winter. So decided that my Devinci would be sacrifaced (in a sense, all that salt can’t be good for it) and winterized it.

First up was to upgrade the tires. Bike paths, even the ones next to the main streets are ice covered by a thin (or not so thin) layer of snow. Definitely a winter tire was required. Was surprised to find out that studded tires are easy to get from my LBS and wasn’t too expensive ($59 each from the shop) from innova which is available at a number of shops online as well for a bit less.

Next up lighting. It gets dark pretty early here, around 4pm throughout December, so good lights both front and rear are worthwhile (and reflective clothing too!) For the front installed a Planet Bike two watt blaze light and in the rear a simple red LED flicker. Hopefully this will be enough. I am mostly off the main roads so should be fine.

Finally it’s messy out there, wanted a simple rear fender that I could detract quickly if needed. This one from Pollisport does the job nicely.

Naturally a lot also has to go into all the clothing and in that department I have long insulated pants, winter jacket and windbreaker, boralis mitts and other bits to ward off the chills of winter.

Today it was -10 and snowy and my first real winter riding day. In the end not too bad. Commute is only 20 minutes so even frostbite isn’t too bad on the few bits of exposed flesh. My hands got a bit cold and certainly parts of my face. A balakava will be a near future acquistion. Traffic was even slower today due to snow and was giddy as I passed them by!! Of course they were warmer but I think I was having more fun. Not sure what my temperature cut off will be (and taking into account the wind) but at least its doable. We’ll see how it works through the long winter!

Still to come: Santa is said to be bringing me a MTB specific rack and pannier. Can’t wait! I’ve been good this year so hope I get it.

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Categories: bicycling Tags: ,

Fit Kit – 2010 Devinci Cameleon 2

August 10, 2010 3 comments

Current Weight: 201 Pounds
Goal: 185 Pounds
Pounds Lost: 12
Pounds to go: 16

When I decided to get fit I thought about what I did a lot as a kid when I really was fit. And one thing I did a lot of was bike. Bike to school, Bike to work, Bike for fun. So I decided that biking was going to be a big part of what I do now. I’m not unique in this, but I think a lot of folks hit the fitness centers, and that never really seems to work. But biking you can incorporate into any schedule and once you have a bike, your paid up. No monthly bills or snotty folks on the treadmill next to you.

In my shed I had two bikes. One is an 80s pretty top of the line steel road race bike, the other an entry level steel Mountain bike. I still use them from time to time but both had deficiencies I wanted to resolve. So it was time to do some shopping.

1st off was the Mountain bike. Last year, after more than 10 years working in Kanata, Canada, I finally discovered that some of the best mountain bike trails in Canada are within a few kilometers. A good overview can be found here. Let’s just say it’s extensive, it can be technical and it’s a blast. Parts of the bike paths are being taken down (along with the trees) for development but the part I really like looks like it’s protected! Within the hour that I have for lunch I can change, do 45 minutes of really hard interesting trail riding, then return to the office, change back and get back to the world of Software.

But my bike was definitely holding me back. It didn’t shift well, it was heavy to lug up some of the hills, if didn’t have front suspension so I seemed to shatter by arms over every little rock. So this spring I started to look for a better mountain bike.

I don’t like to spend a lot money if I don’t need to, but I knew I had to invest a bit. I didn’t do a lot internet research as I didn’t want to get dragged into what seemed like a lot of various views on what is good and what isn’t in Mountain Bike design. If you want to you can spend $5000 or more on a Mountain Bike. I wanted to spend less than $1000.

Now I had been out of biking for about 20 years, in my days the good Canadian bikes were Marinoni, Gardin, Miele etc.  Good to see that Marinoni is still there, but the two I hear about now are Cervelo and Devinci. Cervelo doesn’t have a mountain bike range and is very high end, but Devinci has bikes across the spectrum and seemed well regarded. There are in a number of local dealers here in Ottawa. So I took a look and found this 2010 Devinci Cameleon 2 for a touch under $700 at Kunstadt Sports (who were pretty good for a broad sports shop). Devinci numbers their bikes a bit like BMW, basically the 1 series is cheaper than the 3 and the 4. In a number of Devinci’s lines there are four levels including the cameleon. In choosing my new road bike I was more willing to pay more and pay a lot more attention to compenents and frame, but with a Mountain bike I think more bash, bash, crash, jump etc. so just wanted something that could hold up, look a bit like I knew what I was doing and last for years. So far the Devinci Cameleon 2 has met my expectations. You can get the full specs here I couldn’t see the core differences with the 3 and the 4, the 2 had all the things I wanted so it was the 2 I bought.

 

My Mountain Bike

My Devinci ready for it's lunch time run

 

This is what I found:

  1. It’s much lighter, when I can’t just make it up a hill I can carry it without too much trouble. Doesn’t need to be any lighter for me
  2. It shifts well. Shimano makes some pretty crappy low end stuff and awesome high end stuff. The Altus/Acera stuff on this bike seems about middle of the road and works well
  3. It has front suspension. Again not sure where in the RockShox hierarchy this shock fits, and it has a preload knob that doesn’t seem to do much but it works and puts up with a lot of abuse.
  4. It has disk brakes rear and back. Not sure if this is needed, but wow they sure work nice
  5. It looks the part. I don’t like looking like I just came out of Canadian Tire with a $99 special. Devinci has real some cred it seems

The only big problem I have is with the handlebar department….

  1. The handlebars are cramped by the shifters and brake levels, so I have to get a good grip on them when the going gets hairy. Not sure I can resolve this so going to live with it
  2. The handlebar grips themselves slide off all the time. I think I can resolve this

I also added a few things

  1. A pack under the seat to carry tools and flat fix kit
  2. A pump, hitting the rocks seems to always push some air out
  3. Drink holder of course, it gets hot riding the trails
  4. A computer. This isn’t about speed per say, but to know when it’s time to head back and good to know how many kilometers I have ridden daily, weekly and over the season
  5. A rear mud guard. I was coming back covered in dirt which got me a few dirty looks in the office
  6. Clip in pedals.  This one I had to think about. On a real trail you crash, but with regular pedals you also struggle in areas where if you could put a bit more force into the pedals you would be fine. I have used clipin pedals on my road bike for years so was more or less fine with this. Still a bit tentative on the trails but so far a good change. I think folks who are uncomfortable with this approach would be fine, but for me a good upgrade
  7. A bell, in Ottawa you can get charged if you don’t have a bell so didn’t want the hassle. And I have used it from time to time!

Mountain Biking is a great way to get rid of tension. When riding a road bike it’s mostly pedal, pedal, pedal and is a continual and fun physical challenge. But a mountain bike, riden on a proper trail, is a rush and I can bash out my frustrations from the morning office politics And it just feels like you are doing something physical and hard. I have bled more this year in minor scrapes than I have in the last 20 years combined I think!

 

Good front suspension but handlebars are cramped

 

 

Frame is almost beautiful

 

In the coming weeks I will also blog about a more expensive acquistion, my road bike.

Categories: bicycling, Fit Kit Tags: ,