I had an all road bike made by Mariposa Bicycles of Toronto, Ontario this year. More about them later. It was, without question, the most enjoyable experience I have had. And now that I have been riding it for 4 months, I feel I can comment intelligently 😂
You can see a detailed parts specifications here. What I want to do is discuss the features that make the biggest difference to the ride, handling, and comfort.
The first thing I immediately noticed was how much more comfortable the bike is. In part, it is because of the steel frame. But I have other steel frames, and this is noticeably more forgiving. The difference is the tires – Compass 700C x 35 Bon Jon Pass TC. I haven’t experienced anything like them. They absorb road roughness, bumps, and cracks like nothing I have experienced, and at the same time are remarkably fast, Yes. Fast 35 mm tires. In particular, I notice a difference on descents. The wider tire grips better, and I feel more confident cornering. I am so impressed with this brand, I have ordered a set of 32 mm and 28 mm ties for my other road bikes.
The second thing thing that immediately impressed me is the 1x SRAM FORCE drive train. I wasn’t sure when I configured the bike, rationalizing that I didn’t own a 1x and it would be a new experience. Well after using it for 4 months on all types of terrain, I actually prefer it over my compact setups. It’s simpler. No front derailleur. More efficient. There is no cross chaining. Apparently this results in a 4-5 watt power gain. And, quieter because of the unique clutch system used on the rear derailleur. At the low end, I have the same gearing as my other road bikes, so climbing is just as efficient. At the top end, I do not have quite as large a gear. However, I seldom spin out, only on long, fast descents. And, I always seem to find my sweat spot, that gear where my cadence is natural and powerful. On my compact setups there are duplicate, or very similar gears, and frequently the gearing is too hard, or easy.
The third thing that I was quick to notice is the hydraulic disc brakes. They are so much better in the wet weather, more positive under a heavy load, and easy to feather when cornering. I simply feel more confident.
In summary, this bike is more comfortable, just as fast despite being marginally heavier, and gets me on gravel roads and paths with ease. There are other commendable features – the Fi’z:k cockpit, H PLU SON rims, Paul thru axles, Ritchey carbon fork, White Industries hubs and headset – but I am particularly pleased with the paint job. This was the most difficult decision. I was all over the place on this. I kept changing my mind until the very end. But in the end, it was simple. My daughter had just completed her masters degree, and as a graduation present, I gave her my car, a car I was driving very little, if at all. And yet, I have many fond memories of the road trips we shared. So, I painted the bike frame the same silver blue.
I traded four wheels for two.
I’m carless, and like it.
I can’t discuss my new all road bike without a shoutout to Mariposa. Without question, they are the most knowledgable, and gifted bicycle shop I have ever known. It is a family business, started by the father in 1969, and subsequently restarted by his son, a former professional cyclist and his wife, also an accomplished professional. I am so impressed with their service that I have made them my only bike shop even though they are 3,500 km away. If you do not know this business, I recommend you visit their website here. I have nothing but superlatives to describe their level of service, understanding of the business, and commitment to cycling.
In case you are wondering, I named the new bike “Dash Too” after the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. You can read it here. I’ll explain this name further in a subsequent post.
Something I’ve wondered about re 1x set-ups: when you say ‘no cross chaining’ with the 1x, although there might be a tiny bit less of a cross at the extremities (assuming your single chainring sits between where the two compact chainrings would be), aren’t you actually a little more cross chained more often? If I’m on the smallest cassette, I’ll be on the larger chainring which is slightly less cross chained than you have to be with just the one chainring. (Hope that makes sense).
I haven’t measured this. Rather, I’m repeating what I learned from a GCN video about ways to cycle faster and gain power. All I really know, if that the bike feels faster, particularly in the middle cogs.
The proof of the pudding …