Which Bike?

It’s been a few weeks since my last update. I have been so busy lately I have not had much time for blogging.  

I have two main bikes. I have a Redline Conquest Sport Cyclocross which I bought last year strictly so I would have a cross between a road bike and something I could also take on trails and outfit with racks and packs and use for touring. This is the bike I plan on taking on the trip. My other bike I won last fall. It is a Kona Lana Mountain Bike which had much thicker knobby tires and really more of an off road bike. 

Last night I decided to try the Lana out on a short 12 mile ride our SpinOffs group had scheduled.  I had given some though to taking the new Lana on the trip but ruled it out after the ride. With the the suspension the bike was very comfortable as far as hitting the bumps and objects on the trail, which last night were many. The trail had many sticks and junk that had been blown into it because of several days of high winds here.  The over all ride was fine.  The drive train seemed to be geared a bit different than the conquest.  It shifted smoothly and was quick to slide through the different speeds. I liked how when shifting down to a lower gear I was able to with one stroke of the thumb shift down anywhere from 1 to 4 or 5 speeds.   Shifting into a higher gears was one at a time which keeps was nice. This made it a bit easier for me to find the right gear as I hit a few of the up hill spots.

A couple of reasons that I think I rule this bike out though for the long trip is because the wider tires caused a lot more drag, the gear ratio did seem a bit different and I seemed to have to search for the right gear a little more. Although that could be because I and just getting used to this bike. But the number one reason I think is because the straight handle bars kept me more erect in the saddle and didn’t provide me with as many options with how I placed my hands. With the Conquest Sport I have drop bars and there are three positions I can place my hands and still shift and break from.  This along with the overall geometry of the Conquest allows several different riding positions. This I know has been beneficial to me with longer rides and prevents as much fatigue and from getting stiff. 

My one concern at this point with the Conquest is the tires. They are a cyclocross tire, 700×32’s. I believe that I may get a slightly different tire that has a stiffer sidewall as I am concerned about the softer sidewall and hitting bumps and causing a possible blowout. This happened to me once with them but I also have to admit it was mostly due to low air pressure and it mostly likely was caused by hitting a pothole and the tube got pinched. If I maintain the proper air pressure along the trip It will most likely not be a problems but further testing with a load and the extra weight will tell me more. 

Overall I researched bikes before I bought my Conquest.  Once I made the decision that I wanted to pursue bike touring and becoming a serious biker and race on occasion I decide to pay a bit more for a bike that would fit my overall needs.  After looking at all of the different type, models, sizes and taking everything into account my feeling was that the Redline Conquest Sport provided me with a good combination for an all around trail bike, road bike and touring bike. 

The Kona Lana is certainly a great trail bike and off road bike and I will have it out many more times and enjoy it. I also hope to actually take it off road some and ride the Buckeye Trail and rougher terrain. Maybe even a trip down toVultures Knob in Wooster is in store with it.

As a side note I had been looking forward to a cycle clinic tomorrow concerning touring, specifically along the GAP and C&O Canal trail. I unfortunately am going to have to miss it because of other commitments that came up.

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