Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog on the coast to coast ride !

At last trying to settle down and write the blog on the Coast to Coast ride we did with the VSF bikes last week. Wow it already seems like a lifetime away !

As I explained we were cycling east to west from Robin Hoods Bay to St Bees. Slightly unusual yes as it was into the prevailing westerley winds. But it meant finishing on some superb climbs in the Lake District.

I was really keen to try the T900 with 14 speed Rohloff gearbox and see how it would perform in hilly areas with full pack. I was not disappointed !! Infact can't wait for the next trip.Throughout the journey the bike performed perfectly. The twist grip gearchange is positive and never once did I miss a gear-----gear adjustments are really a thing of the past with the Rohloff.On undulating terrain as for example between Osmotherley on the western edge of the North York Moors to Kirkby Stephen in the Dales you keep the pace up beautifully with constant positive shifting.Hills do not defeat the Rohloff as it coped admirably with 33% gradients in the North York Moors.However these gradients mean that with full gear in panniers you need to be standing and over the bars to prevent the front wheel continually lifting.

I was really impressed by the handling of the bike on fast descents .From the top of the Hardknott pass down into Eskdale is a long and steep ( and really enjoyable ) descent. I was expecting some front end wobble at speed but the bike was steadfast and solid all the way down. Braking with the hydraulic Magura HS 33 system was sure and solid.

Some people have commented on the fact that lighting systems add unecessary weight to the bike but on a trip like this it really is great to have the Son front hub dynamo putting out tremendous lighting through the 60 lux front B&M Lumotec and fantastically bright rear led (both with standlights ). The front led has a senso mode so that when dark enough the light comes on automatically. Brilliant.Especially when cycling back from the pub in an area one is not familiar with !

I will tell you what is also great about the VSF bikes ----- a really solid comprehensive stand which is incredibly useful when you have heavy panniers on the rear rack.

The fully enclosed chainguard is also really great as you don't need to worry about oil on the trousers at all !

The tubus cargo as you would expect from the world's best was faultless as I knew it would be !

I always say the T900 is a top touring bike mainly for road use and I stand by this ,but it also performed brilliantly on rougher tracks such as the Cinder Track from Scarborough to Robin Hoods Bay and on some wetter and stickier terrain by Ravenscale.

So much for the bike. Now I am sure you would all like a quick resume of the journey with it. !!

I will carry on hopefully tomorrow with that -------