I have a Kona Jake cyclocross bike that I use mainly for riding around in the country on either chip sealed, or dirt roads. Here in Alberta we have a never ending grid of range and township roads which have very little traffic.
During the winter I have done a few upgrades.
The first upgrade is a new set of Clement tires that seem like they should be ideal for rough back roads and some tame dirt roads. I ended up with the 60 tpi USH model. More to come on these after I get some kilometres on them.
Upgrade two is new brakes. I was disappointed in the stock Kore Sport brakes and decided to try some Avid Shorty 6 cantilevers. The Kores had very little stopping power, not so great for the steep grades in the Edmonton river valley. These new brakes seem to have higher quality brake pads and are probably lighter as well.
Lastly, I was in need of upgrading the bars. The stock bars seem designed for racing and not long days in the saddle on rough roads. I found riding in the drops very unnatural feeling. After reading the recommendations on Guitar Ted’s fantastic blog, I had a good list of bars to further research. I settled on the On-One Midge bar. The price was right too with the white colour on sale for $20. So far they seem like they will be way more comfortable in the drops. I’m not so sure the comfort will extend to riding on the hoods, although I don’t think that is the intent with these bars. Updates to come, but so far I’m excited to give these a try.
This weekend I’ll put the other USH tire on the Jake and take it out on the multi use trails to confirm the brake lever position. This will also give me a chance to see if the tires are any good in snow. I suspect they’ll perform fairly well on the plowed paths given the ‘file’ pattern on the sides of the tread.
That’s it for now. I’ll offer an update on how these upgrades work out later in the spring.