I applaud the coming of ‘adventure’ geared cranks and kudos to Shimano for finally jumping in. I think that the 46/30 is a nice thing to have for a large segment of the gravel population, bike packers, etc. Unfortunately, if it is not perfect for your needs, it’s not like you get a chance to choose a different crank set-up when you buy your bike, forcing you to make what could be a costly swap to get what you want.
But frankly neither one are what I want. What would I want? How about a 46/36 or 46/34 with an 11-40 rear cassette? Not with the components I have though, unless I could make it work with something like Wolftooth’s Road Link, but with 2x, I still have to deal with the capacity of the rear derailleur to handle chain slack.
Well we are finally wrapping up the saddle reviews with the final three contenders. One is a real surprise and my pick of the bunch.
It was a sweaty, moist day in the saddle and the breath-ability of the shorts worked in my favor, never feeling swampy. Around the 80 mile mark I typically get achy and start to shift around in the saddle to find a position that does not offend the nethers. But it occurred to me that I was not doing that. At all. I was just sitting and pedaling, still happy after 5 hours in the saddle. Excellent.
There were times when I got on top of a gear on the pavement and completely forgot that I was on a gravel tire. Now the WTB Resolutes are good rolling for what they are. The IRCs are a step up from them. The Hutchinson Overides are another level completely. I bet the 35s really fly.
I have heard from several industry wags that a 143mm saddle fits 90% of the male riders out there. On the 143mm I was more aware of sit bone pressure as that was the primary area of contact. It was not bad, just different. Interesting in a way, as sometimes you have to try a saddle rather than go by the numbers. Width does not always play out the same between models.
My initial impressions were of a laterally stiff wheel with high spoke tension and so the forward drive under prodding was exceptional. They really scoot. I also felt that they were a firm riding wheel and I think that is accurate, but they are not harsh.