Rawland dSogn Build and Ride Report

As promised, here are the details of my Rawland dSogn 650b disk brake bike. This was one of the frames discounted by Rawland in December for minor blemishes, though I can’t find any on this frameset. The red powder coat paint is evenly applied and looks good. The decals are applied over the paint and I suspect they will not last forever, but that’s OK by me.

I posted a set of photos at my Flickr page.

Melting the Snow
Melting the Snow

The bike set up well, my shop said. There is one feature to consider — the seat tube bottle mounts are low enough that the bottom bracket clamp will install between the two holes. My shop said my plastic Profile cage installed without any problem.

I took a few test rides and it feels a lot like my Rivendell bikes, but sturdier: solid with a hint of spring at the bottom bracket. I rode it around town with the semi-smooth Fatty Rumpkin 650bx42mm tires from Rivendell.

The verdict: fun! The handling had a tiny bit of shopping-cart feel compared to my road and tour bikes, but that will be a good feature on the trails when I have knobby tires mounted. The long seat post was a non-issue — I was able to get away with a Nitto two-bolt post and felt no flex. A Brooks sprung Flyer smooths out the bumps. I bopped around a nearby park and rode it on some broken path. It brought back the feeling of my balloon-tire Western Flyer bike I had as a kid. I steered that bike down streets, dirt alleys and gravel roads in rural Illinois without giving it a second thought.

For my intended bar height I left the steerer tube uncut. For cross racing I might lower the bars a little bit, but otherwise they feel good at saddle height of about 30 inches from bottom bracket to saddle top.

Ready for fun.
Ready for fun.

I have a set of disk 700c wheels that I plan to install and test ride with 32mm cross tires, and will report back on the outcome. I’ll also install the Pacenti Neo Moto 58mm knobby tires and post a trail report.

Here is the component list:

Frame: Rawland dSogn Medium-Large, disc specific, 650b
Headset: Velo Orange Grand Cru 1 1/8″ threadless, silver
Handlebars: Nitto Noodle 46cm
Stem: Dimension 80mm
Brake/shifters: Campagnolo Veloce Ergo, 10-speed
9-speed adapter: Jtek Shiftmate
Cross levers: Tektro
Seatpost: Nitto S-83
Saddle: Brooks Flyer
Wheels: Peter White-built Velocity Synergy 36-hole silver rims, rear offset; Shimano XT 6-hole disk hubs; butted spokes.
Brakes: Avid BB7 disk, 160mm disks
Crankset: Shimano XT M739 110/74 26-36-46 175mm arms
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Un-91 square taper
Front derailleur: Shimano XTR M900 clamp
Rear derailleur: Shimano XT M761 long cage
Cassette: Shimano XT 11-32 9-speed cassette
Pedals: Shimano M520

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