Friday, February 3, 2012

Maybe a week or so ago Erik Lobeck threw this little number up on the classifieds of bikepacking dot net. I was probably one of the first ones to see it and knew right then that I wanted it but I held off. I kept checking back every day or so and found it getting some attention. I thought for sure it would sell quickly. I checked back today and saw it was still there and then got a hold of him and made him an offer on it and he'll be sending it my way on Monday.

It's an odd piece that most people probably won't recognize. Several year's ago there was a West Coast custom frame builder that did a short run of what they called the "Fred Bar". It was aluminum and about the same dimensions as this one. It was created for people that wanted to install aero bars on their mountain bikes for things like Tour Divide and not have to have the position of their handlebar compromised in order to do so.

Erik is from Steamboat Springs and he's sponsored by Moots. In 2010 he's the guy that slugged it out with Matt Lee but he was relegated for an incident that I didn't agree with so I like him. These are very hard to find which is why I'm sure Erik had the folks at Moots build this one.

Basically this is a simple and ingenious inch and a half long stem that mounts above your existing stem. The aero bars mount to the short handlebar section welded to the stem. You can run riser bars (which make aero bars hard to install) and they also make it way easy to still connect things to the bars like compression bags, lights, GPS, etc.

I really like the fact that this puts the aero bars a lot higher and back towards the rider so you don't have to lean over as much. This will impact the position of the knees over the bottom bracket area less and take a whole lot of pressure of the triceps for really long days.

Obviously, it's titanium so it doesn't way a lot either.

So why did I snatch this up? Because I've been itching to do the Tour Divide for a few years now. I just have not been really comfy with the idea of it until I finished another long local ride that absolutely haunts me. I'm taking a bit of a different approach to things this year and know it will be good for me. Mainly, I am not putting all of my eggs into one basket. I may do the CT as an ITT but I'd sure like to start with the group since Waterton Canyon will be open again and I just really like the camaraderie of the grand depart. Regardless, I've got quite a few other long rides already lined up. So with that said...I'm going on record now as saying that I intend to line up in Banff for the 2013 Tour Divide. I think it will be a great adventure for my 40th year.

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