So with CX season rapidly approaching it was about time to get the bike built and ready for the season. Timing couldn’t have worked out better as we received all our sponsorship parts from Gates this week in time for a good couple of days of shake down rides. Today I managed to squeeze and early ride in with Brandon (one of our other Raleigh/Gates riders) before work with the hopes of getting everything adjusted. Well in a word the bike is AWESOME! The cockpit for the most part is FSA SLK stuff which was very easy to setup and performed as expected.
Some of the new stuff to my stable of bikes came from the drive train and brakes. First the brakes and brake levers performed extremely well. This is the first time in a long time that I have used retro styled brakes and the TRP EuroX Magnesium brakes were awesome. The modulation was very predictable creating confidence when I needed to slow down. As good as the brakes are I’m a huge fan of the brake levers. They worked for me with a amazing comfortable ergo lever. If you are looking for a pair of levers for your SSCX bike I definitely recommend the RRL Alloy from TRP!
Now for the drive train, if you haven’t tried a belt drive bike before I recommend it! I’ve had the 2011 Raleigh XXIX in my stable of bikes for a couple of years now so I was very familiar with a belt drive and it’s performance. There’s a lot of positives behind the Gates Belt Drive System some of which include it being lighter, longer lasting, and cleaner to name a few. Well that was the CDX and with the new bike I’m now riding the Center Track setup and I couldn’t be happier with the changes. The system was easy to get aligned (basically using a long straight edge which touches both the fore and aft of both the front and rear rings and you are set). I tore off with confidence and silence from my drive train. I had only one small problem with the wheel slipping as I didn’t have enough tension on my rear skewer when climbing a rather high watt low cadence climb. I addressed that by tightening the skewer but I’ll probably add a higher knurl steel skewer or a tug nut to the drive side to prevent any slipping from the wheel. Outside of that it performed amazing well. The gearing also worked out great. On this ride with roughly 1,500′ of climbing with some steeper sections I was running a 55t up front and a 22t in the rear. As the season going on and the weather gets foul I’m sure I’ll be changing the rear cog over to the 24t.
The last thing I was rather new to was the Cranks Brother Candy 3 pedals. I can’t recommend these pedals enough. I’ve been riding basic Shimano MTB pedals for a long while and I was extremely happy with the ease of entry/exit from the pedals and I can’t wait to see how well they work in the mud!
With all that said in my eyes this bike is money! To check out this bike and the other Raleigh/Gates rides hunt us down at the NEOCX with the first race coming up on September 9th at Cascade Park Cross! See you there!!