Rawland 650b dSogn Frameset Unboxing

I hope you continue to have a great time this holiday season. We’re now in that golden period between Christmas and New Year’s when the pressure is off. Whew!

Rawland is a new steel make from Sean Virnig that is designed to use the big 650b knobbies from Kirk Pacenti, the 58mm Neo-Moto and the 51mm Quasi-Moto. The design, by Pacenti & Ben Witt, is reminiscent of the early unsuspended MTB bikes, with drop bars instead of flat or bull moose bars.

Sean recently put some blemished framesets, including the single-speed Olaf, the cantilever brake Sogn and disc dSogn, on sale for $350. This is a great deal on a Maxway-produced frameset. Maxway makes Surly framesets, produced Rivendell’s 650b Bleriot and now makes Riv’s new Betty Foy mixte and Sam Hillborne 650b/700c road&randonneur bike.

I grabbed one of the disc-only dSogn frames in medium-large. It arrived just before Christmas and to my eye it is without any flaws. The powdercoated paint is a little thin in a few nooks and crannies, which I understand is the challenge of powdercoating vs. spraying.

I posted a set of photos of the unboxing at my Flickr page.

I have not had a chance to begin building it. I’m going to transfer the parts from my LeMond Poprad disc, which is a great frameset but can’t take big tires. It can take 650bx42mm tires, but there are no knobbies in that size and I want to run those fat Pacenti tires. Plus, the Sogn can take 700c wheels with 35mm tires, which are about the same overall size as the Neo-Moto.

Gino Zhand raced his dSogn with 700x35s this fall; see his photoset for views of his bike set up both ways. Like the Poprad, the dSogn uses a threadless steerer tube and tig-welded steel; I expect it to set up a little heavier than the Poprad due to the steel fork compared to the Bontrager carbon fork used by Trek.

I plan to put the Poprad disc frameset with Cane Creek headset on sale. Contact me if interested. It’s a 2008 58cm disc-only with lots of steerer remaining above the headset. It has just three rides so far totaling less than 100 miles and virtually no marks. It’s a great cross racing bike that can also take fenders and racks, with the smart placement of the rear disc mount on the chainstay.

Stay tuned for a ride report once the dSogn is up and running.

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Thursday Commuteblogging: MG’s Bike Friday Tikit and Keen Cycling Sandals

Some of us just have more style on the bike. I make no claims. I ride Sidi shoes and Pearl Izumi shorts, just like everybody else, though I’ve settled on wool jersies over poly.

MG, on the other hand, long ago figured out how to find clothes that look great on and off the bike. She will find a pair of capri pants at REI on sale and they’ll work perfectly. She can also pull off the cool look on a folder, in this case her brand new Bike Friday Tikit folding bicycle.

MG on her New TikitMG on the Custis Trail

MG loves this bike because she can fold it up and roll it into her building, which does not allow full size bicycles into the offices. Rather than leave it locked in the parking garage, she puts it under her desk! While riding, it feels normal. That’s high praise for a folder with 16-inch wheels.

MG and Tikit at the World War II MemorialMG and Tikit at the World War II Memorial

MG is also happy with her new Keen cycling sandals. Unlike Shimano and Lake, they look and feel less bulky and still manage to include a stiff cycling sole and front toe protection. MG reports that she has yet to take them on a century, but around town they feel good.

Styling new Keen Cycling SandalsStyling new Keen Cycling Sandals

Keen sandal soleKeen sandal sole

I’ve put together a Flickr set of Tikit and Keen photos. See them Here or see the Slideshow.

My Rivendell Bleriot, MG\'s TikitMy Rivendell Bleriot, MG’s Tikit

Wednesday Commuteblogging: Blossoms, Buses and Bike Squirrels

Spring has arrived in Washington and with it come the Cherry Blossoms, which in turn bring the tour buses, which bring the tourists, who feed the squirrels. Yesterday at the Pennsylvania Avenue plaza, this little fellow was so tame that he climbed my Atlantis rear wheel to beg for food! MG got this amazing photo; click to enlarge to see the daring critter:

Ed and Friend on Pennsylvania Ave.Wow! It’s easy to climb 36-spoke wheels. Thanks!

Over at the tidal basin, the blossoms were coming out in their gentle beauty. A passerby took this portrait of MG and me on our way to work:

Ed and MG at the Tidal BasinEd and MG at the Tidal Basin

Lastly, we have our friends, the Tour Buses:

Buses Behind Us!Buses Behind! Buses Ahead!Buses Ahead!

Wednesday Commuteblogging: Downtown Washington Edition

MG doesn’t work for a lobby firm but her office is down in lobby-ville on K Street in Northwest D.C. She has a pretty fair commute until she crosses Pennsylvania Avenue, and then the traffic gets thick for the two blocks north to her building. She usually rides her daily steed, a Novara Randonee, which she calls the pickup truck of touring bikes, or her Rivendell Quickbeam singlespeed.

Here’s a photo of K Street at Night, and one of MG’s co-worker, Bruce M. who is entirely comfortable riding at night without a front light — MG and I are going to give him one of our extras.

Bruce M. ready to rideBruce M. ready to ride

A view down K StreetA view down K Street from the Quickbeam

Bleriot S&S Packing

I rode my longer brevets, fleche and PBP this year on my S&S coupled 650b Rivendell Bleriot,  and thought it might be helpful to post photos of the packing process. See the photos on my Flickr set.

Bleriot S&S PackingBleriot S&S Packing

The value of an S&S frameset (or Bike Friday) is not just that you avoid punative airline fees, but also in the ease of travel overall. Moving a suitcase through an airport is a whole lot easier than a full size travel bike case, or a box. Fellow randonneur Alex Miller of Tennessee had a great idea. He uses two S&S cases. Pack half the bike in each case and fill in with clothes — it speeds up the packing and lets him say that neither case contains a bike, in the case of some airlines that charge you even if the bike fits within luggage size and weight limits.