I always name my bikes, I’m strange that way. But this Giant cyclocross bike I chanced upon in the local bike shop yesterday had me stumped. Then I saw it leaned against the wall in my hallway with a scythe behind it and it clicked. Although it’s boring official moniker is TCX1, it’s gonna be the Grim Reaper for me from now on. What better name for a cyclocross bike? Not only are the aluminum frame, the spokes and some of the components mostly black, “grim” is how I would denote the whole sport of cyclocross. Only a masochist could invent a competition where you ride full-on for one hour plus the last round over a short, but technical off-road circuit that brims with obstacles, mud and off-cambered curves. Forcing you to dismount, shoulder your steed, run, jump the obstacle, run some more and jump on again, possibly finalizing your family planning. Did I mention that you keep the lactate treshold in sight always?
Anyway, this hard-core cyclocrossing will have to wait ’till I’ve lost some more weight for the winter (keeping fingers crossed). For this summer’s mixed off- and on-road touring, I’ve put a comfy Brooks saddle and a saddle bag on the Reaper. Plus, theses other features won’t hurt while touring:
On the first ride yesterday evening, I found the position to be comfortably upright, though streched out as I like it. The bottom bracket is a whole lot higher than on my road bike (how the hell do they jump off and on so fluidly?). The frame is stiff and responsive, the rear wheel is tucked under so that it doesn’t slip even when going out of the saddle on soft ground. Front geometry is a good compromise between stability at speed and twitchiness in slow technical sections. The Kenda tires are nothing for the road, I’d have preferred a semi-slick with side-knobs. Shimano 105 components do their respective jobs with the usual aplomb.
I’m really looking forward to trying it out some more today!