Sunday, October 09, 2005

No. 50, Vol. 4 - Mudplugging, Anyone?

Cyclocross, in a nutshell, is like doing steeplechase on a bicycle. Steeplechase is a footrace of usually 3,000 meters over a closed track with hurdles and a water jump; cyclocross is a bicycle race of usually a mile over a mix of asphalt and dirt trails, with 40cm high barriers staggered around the course to add various degrees of difficulty. Ascents, descents and adverse cambers also add great theater for spectators.

Cyclocross bikes are pretty unique for a few reasons, namely the cross-hybridization of two disciplines: road and MTB. At a glance, a cyclocross bike looks like a road bike: drop handlebars, bar-end or integrated brake lever shifting, narrow 700c diameter wheels, svelte tubing and narrow saddle. But closer inspection turns up cantilever brakes and more tire clearance for wider tires and the mud that often plugs up the narrow knobbies, hence the term “mudplugging.” Many cyclocrossers use narrow, slick tires to train on country roads, then switch to 700x30c semi-slick knobby tires for racing.

We’ve decided to enter the fray with the Gaansari Mudplugger, inspired by countless hours discussing bicycle design and cyclocross dynamics with multiple national `cross champion Tim Rutledge, former pro racer and product designer for Redline Bicycles, now with Raleigh America (thanks for the correction, Reed). Just like the rest of the Gaansari line, expect to see a nice mix of old-school heritage with smart componentry options: handlebars from On-One, Nitto, Salsa and others; crankset options from Ritchey, Stronglight, TruVativ and others; tires from Panaracer and others. Frames made in Ohio by Jack. Color: Stable Boy (Fiskars scissors) Orange with French Custard painted head tube and seat panel (lugged version) or Stable Boy (Fiskars scissors) Orange with French Custard box pinstriping (fillet-brazed version).

Check it out!

~ Gary B.


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