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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:15 am 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
I've not had the chance to ride it off road yet, as I only finished the brakes and wrapping the bars yesterday.

Gearing was a little .... interesting. First incarnation was with SRAM Rival cx cranks, but they will only fit a road frame, so I bought a cheap Truvativ Stylo 3 x 10 set up and removed the granny gear. I have just a couple less teeth on the front chainrings but I'm still running a road cassette.

1st seems pretty low, much lower than my road bikes, and top seems nice and long, certainly too long to allow me to ride easily up my road, which is about a 4% climb.

I'm away for a week starting tomorrow, so the first real shakedown run will have to wait a week.


Last edited by NeilM on Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:10 pm 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
UPDATE.

Right, I've just got back from the first on/offroad shakedown ride.

First thing, the rear brake cable needs a slight adjust, as the very end of the cable is making the kind on noise we used to get by using a clothes peg and a piece of cardboard.

On the plus side.... WOW! This bike is great.

The gears are a tiny bit short for a roadbike and a tiny bit long for an mtb, so just right for tear-arsing about in the woods :wink:

The ride is very direct, steering sharp as a sharp thing that has only recently been sharpened, braking squeaky to start with, then a little fierce, but after the banzai downhill ride back from the woods, they are nicely bedded in, although I need a little more travel on the back brakes. Climbing is great, as I would hope from a hand made 853 frame.

The IRC tyres are ideal for the job, not too draggy on tarmac and not too slippery in mud, but grippy as shi... something pretty darn grippy on dry rocks, roots, gravel and such.

Gears work well, although the change up from the small ring to the big ring is a little slow, and I don't really see it improving, but that's a compromise I can live with, as it is only really done while starting to gather speed once back on the tarmac.

Ride position is bob on the money and I'll be looking to see if I can replicate it on my road bikes.

So, overall, I'm very please and I can see me using this bike... a lot.

Next trip has to be up to Rowberrow, on the Mendips. :twisted:


Last edited by NeilM on Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:11 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 10:01 am
Posts: 11207
Location: Stockport, staring at the Peaks
Yes yes and yes, you can't get this one wrong can you? Beautiful - those forks totally do it for me too! 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:29 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Thanks, very much appreciated.

The straight tapered fork look was a must from the outset; I may replace them with some genuine Switchblades at some point, but they did a pretty good job over all terrain yesterday, so there no actual need to change them at all.

The Rourke is an really classy frame. I love my brazed frames and the smooth look, but the lugs on this frame, combined with the chrome and paint just say road bike, so I feel it really suits the cx/mtb hybrid role in looks as well as in function.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:07 am 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Took the Rourke out yesterday.

As it is not really suited to my local 'test track' I went for a really good 15 mile on/offroad try out around a plantation where I regularly ride my horse.

On the road it is a dream, much faster than an mtb, but with the slight rolling resistance you get from knobbly tyres. Interestingly, on the way home I rode down a steep tarmac road that I know well and have ridden on my road bikes. On the Rourke I was able to brake less and later, come off the brakes earlier and take the corners much tighter. This may just have been how it felt and actual measurements of speed would be needed to confirm it, but that's how it felt.

The bridleways around the plantation are pretty wide, but they are also quite rocky, both solid and loose, as last year really scoured a lot of the soil away. I found that the combination of longer (road) gearing and quite steep rough rocky climbs meant riding them was a no no, so off I hopped and a push carry was in order. I also found that some really rough rocky descents were pretty challenging on 440mm wide drops. What helped here was the fact that the Rourke is completely sure footed and that the steering is sharp but not overly sensitive or twitchy.

All the other climbs and descents, muddy trails and fast sections were easy to ride and great fun. I had to double back at one point, as I realised my dark glasses had dropped out of my jersey pocket, so I got to experience a couple of section twice and in both directions.... which was nice.

The road ride home was a breeze, not quite as free rolling as a road bike and I avoided the worst climbs back up the hill to home, never the less by the time I got home I'd done 1300 ft of climbing, so despite what my legs were telling me, the Rourke does climb.

I think I may try a slightly more mtb rear cassette in an effort to be able to ride, rather than push, some of the steeper bits, but I do realise this is the nature of cx style bikes. I also really like modern cx canti's, they are easy to set up and just as powerful as anything I have fitted to any of my other bikes, and they allow really precise levels of braking...nice!

Overall, I'm still absolutely chuffed with this build, and feel it really does suit the frame very well.

Sorry about the angles of the saddle in the photos, I can't have had the clamp done up as tight as I thought. All sorted now.

Oh and a little plug for No1 son's hand made tool roll; it took all the rocky bumpy bits in it's stride. This is a preproduction semi prototype, but he's going to start selling them very soon. I have no idea where he gets his enterprising spirit and drive from, not me that's for sure. :mrgreen:

Image

Image

Image


Last edited by NeilM on Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 9:13 pm
Posts: 1047
Im still waiting for you to get bored of this and sell it to me!

Still the best looking mtb frame I've seen.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:53 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Dale cannon wrote:
Still the best looking mtb frame I've seen.

You should see it up close, it looks even better.

I have a few really nice frames, but this is in a class of it's own.

Better still, I recently got a matching 853 road frame, in black, for which I am gathering parts ready for a spring 2014 build.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 9:13 pm
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First real tide today.

Still in prototype stage, brakes are pretty poor and the taper of the drive side crank arm is toast as it repeatedly comes loose.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:40 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
Looking good though and at least it was not lashing with rain, which it was here.

Modern cx canti's are the way, I had FSA SLK's on it, and they were amazing.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 9:13 pm
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NeilM wrote:
Looking good though and at least it was not lashing with rain, which it was here.

Modern cx canti's are the way, I had FSA SLK's on it, and they were amazing.


That was a rare break in the rain, the wind was incredible though.

It's going back to the mainland next week to be fitted out with a 105 groupset so I think that a set of matching canti's will be on order soon enough.


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