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Thread: New Olaf build

  1. #1
    Joenes
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    New Olaf build

    I'm a long-time SS rider, beginning with 26", moved to 29", and have been patiently waiting for the right bike to build a 650b SS'er.

    Meet my Olaf.

    A big thanks to Kirk P. for creating the genre and accoutrements, also to Sean and Anna Virnig at Rawland for designing such a beautiful frameset, finally to my sponsor Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin for getting me the necessary goods to complete the build.

    It's a pretty basic build:

    Rawland Olaf M/L
    Pacenti Neo-Motos
    Velocity Synergy 32* rims
    DT comp spokes
    Surly flip flop rear hub
    Old Dura-ace ft. hub
    Thomson seatpost
    ITM 330 bar/no-name stem (will change in time)
    Tektro brake levers
    Dia-Compe 987 canti's
    WTB Speed V saddle (hefty, will also change in time)
    170mm Deore cranks, 33T Dangerboy ring
    World Class Ti BB
    18T Shimano fw (waiting for my WI ENO)
    Dura-Ace chain
    Cane Creek S3 headset

    The complete bike feels light, I'd guess it's ~23lbs as pictured.

    I've just ridden around the block so far, should get out for a couple rides this weekend to work out the kinks. Mostly concerned with positioning and gear ratio right now. If I can get used to the drops and comfortable in general, this will be the bike I take to Mas y Menos next month. On paper, this bike looks like the perfect machine for the Chihuahuan desert. Otherwise, I'll be pedaling the Jabber. Either way, this bike is going to get ridden.

    I'll report back with some proper feedback once I get some trail time.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Looks great! If I might offer some advice, I would say to get those drops up a bit. But, you did say the bars and stem weren't long for the build.

    Regardless, I hope you get miles of smiles out of that bike. It looks very fun.

  3. #3
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    Very nice bike! I've been eagerly lapping up every scrap of info on the web I can find about Rawlands' (I realize they are quite new), so I look forward to your ride reports. If I may ask, why did you go with canti's instead of disc brakes? For the old schooliness, or any more functional reason?

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    Looks great! I just about have mine done--need a different seatpost and have to cut the steerer and apply a bit 'o bar tape and it's set...

    I've got it together enough for test rides 'round the basement and it's a really nimble handler! I'm shooting through the doorway, dodging around furniture and bikes and what have you--pulled up short into a couple of trackstands and it sets up just like it had a kickstand. Making Anne and the cats a bit nervous, though.

    I was a bit disappointed that the track ends are not angled to allow for gear changes without adjusting the back brake, though. I had planned from the start to make this a two-speeder with a trail gear and a road gear, but just a two-teeth difference is enough to put the brakes out of alignment. I switched the inner chainring out for a bigger one so the gearing (38-was 36, and 40-tooth rings, with a White Industries 17-19 dos enos freewheel and a matching Surly Dingle fixed cog on the flip side) matches in total tooth count so the brakes are fine now but I fear the low gear's a bit high for trail riding. Oh well, I'll figure something out.

    I am really looking forward to putting some miles on it when the weather straightens out!

  5. #5
    Joenes
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    The first ride did not disappoint. As expected, the bike is very nimble/flickable. This will be my go to bike for the techy, nasty rides we have around Austin. It's very hard for me to discern any differences with the wheel size since the bike is, overall, so different. To be succinct, it is everything I wanted and expected; I had a great time on it.

    GT - I'm going to put a pair of Bell--Lap bars on it. You can tell from the photos but with shallower drops I should be in a good position. Time will tell if I need more rise or not.

    bolandjd - I've been hanging on to the 987's for 15 years, waiting for the right bike to put them on. It's mostly for the nostalgia but they also work very well and keep the weight down. We have a very dry climate overall which makes rim brakes a viable option.

  6. #6
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by josegraff
    ...................

    GT - I'm going to put a pair of Bell--Lap bars on it. You can tell from the photos but with shallower drops I should be in a good position. Time will tell if I need more rise or not.

    bolandjd - I've been hanging on to the 987's for 15 years, waiting for the right bike to put them on. It's mostly for the nostalgia but they also work very well and keep the weight down. We have a very dry climate overall which makes rim brakes a viable option.
    Thanks for the response about the bars. Bell Laps work pretty well off road actually. At least I think so.

    On your brakes: I always thought those were some of the better cantilever brakes. I have a couple sets waiting for the right bikes myself.

  7. #7
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    986's

    One of the best canti's of all time. Good choice.

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by josegraff
    I've been hanging on to the 987's for 15 years, waiting for the right bike to put them on. It's mostly for the nostalgia but they also work very well and keep the weight down. We have a very dry climate overall which makes rim brakes a viable option.
    Well, all I can say is it's about time you found a great bike for them! Most of my bikes come to life because of some part I've hung onto for years.

    And, the Bell-Laps are a great bar for the Rawland. I've got a set on my Sogn that feel very dialed to the bike. Bar:seat height differential is a personal preference. I like mine a bit lower than most. The more I ride this bike with either the 700x45 or 650x2.2, the more I like it. It's "just right" for me and where I ride.


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    Second Ride

    I got out this morning for a few hours, riding a more techinical trail with a faster group. Yesterday's ride was an easy pace with my wife on easy terain, just to work out any kinks and make adjustments.

    A couple things became quickly apparent, bar position and brake levers. The bike really likes the tight, twisty, ledgy stuff, and the tires and wheel size were noticable today.

    The bars, like I thought, suck. They've got too much reach/drop and just a bad shape in general. I found myself descending the difficult stuff on the tops/brake levers and that was comfortable enough but the drops were a problem, just not enough extension on the hooks. Also, the tops were a little high for out-of-the-saddle uphill grunts. I think that bars with shallower drops and more extension on the hooks will allow me to lower the bars a bit and still have the drops in a good postion.

    The brake levers were a bit of a problem just because the finish was so slick and my long finger gloves couldn't get a good grip on them. I think some adhesive sand paper or grip tape will cure this easily.

    Other than those minor gripes, I was really loving the smaller wheel and could notice that they turned over more easily than my I9/Arch's on the Jabberwocky. They tires were perfect, very grippy but still seem to roll smooth/fast @ 22 psi ( I'm 5' 11"/155lbs).

    Maybe you guy's can help with gearing? I've become quite comfy on my 29'er running 34/20. The Olaf has 33/18 on it and it seemed to be ~ 1" or 2" taller (totally guessing). I felt like it was talller anyways, but, since the wheels seemed to turn over easier, I think i can pull a little bigger gear on this bike. Do you know how the gearing relates between the two bikes? I know...but I'm lazy and would like to appeal to some of you experts for a quick answer, otherwise, I'll do the legwork .

    Thanks
    Joe

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    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
    He doesn't list 650b MTB sizes, but the Neo-Moto is like the same as a 700c x 44mm, right? Something like that.

    Could you go into a little more detail on the handling differences between the Olaf and the Jabberwocky and other 29ers you've ridden? From what I've read, the Jaberwocky, with its vaunted "wet cat" geometry, is supposed to be one of the best handling 29er's around. How does the Olaf compare? If you could only keep one, which one would it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by josegraff
    The brake levers were a bit of a problem just because the finish was so slick and my long finger gloves couldn't get a good grip on them. I think some adhesive sand paper or grip tape will cure this easily.
    Provided your brake levers/calipers are compatible (as previously noted by Shiggy), you might want to set up the levers/cable with a bit more slack in the cable. I find that I like to have the brakes set up so I actually have to pull a lot of cable before the pads hit the rim/rotor. That way, where I do all my braking, my finger doesn't have to reach far during braking - if that makes sense.

  12. #12
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    bolandjd

    700 x 44, huh, thanks. I will check it out.

    My experience with 29'ers is as follows:
    -2000 Willits New Sheriff - this bike is really close to the Olaf in that it's short wheelbased, short toptube, low BB. The head angle is more relaxed but the bike is a single-track and technical beast. It's very stiff and extremely nimble.
    -2006 Gary Fisher Rig - my first legitimate SS bike. I had a hard time getting used to this bike but once accustomed, I had a harder time wanting to ride the Willits. It introduced me to the benefits of a long wheelbase. The bike is manageable in the twisties but it really likes the wide open stuff and at high speed.
    -2009 Jabberwocky - I'm pretty sure the magic of the Wet Cat geo. is in the BB drop. The lower BB combined with the stretched WB really makes this bike do it all for me. It screams on the high speed stuff, similar to the Rig, but it will turn much better when its in the rough and twisty stuff. I've come to realize that for racing/spirited riding I prefer a bike that prefers to go straight but can be easily turned and manuevered (the Rig failed here). It's a great bike for me and will be my go-to for most races.
    -Olaf- can't give an honest opinion yet, just not enough time. Initially, my feeling is that this is going to be ridden quite a bit and raced some. I feel like this is one of those bikes that really prefers to turn but can be coaxed to go straight (fun!). What I really envision is doing more mixed rides, road and dirt. I never do this with my other MTB's, it's straight to the trail then, straight home. I used to have a Bridgestone RB-1 that I would stuff some Avocet 32's or Conti 28's on and would do a mixture of road rides with some pretty gnarly trail sections thrown in. I loved those rides and have yearned for a bike that was better equipped to handle them. The Bridgestone was hampered by 42/21 gearing and Look pedals but was amazingly capable as long as I stuck to downhill/flats for the trail sections. This is why I wanted the Olaf and I think it will fit the bill nicely.

  13. #13
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    SSMike

    I totally agree with you and I set all my bikes up this way. I like the levers to have more "play" than "bite", provided the braking is still strong.

    The problem I was having today was when I was descending on the hoods and braking, they were just too darn slippery. I scared myself a couple times. I just need some texture on the surface of the levers.

    Thanks for the tip.

  14. #14
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    SteveF

    I would love to here your feedback once you get some time outdoors.

    Also, post up some pics when you have time.

  15. #15
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    Cooool..........really just posting because it's easier than subscribing
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

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    Thanks for the analysis. Very informative. IMO, the Rawland definitely wins the beauty contest compared to other steel rigids I've seen. I'm gathering from your description, and others I've read on the net, that it sacrifices very little offroad performance (if any) compared to "normal" mountain bikes (sloping TT, short HT, etc) despite its killer old school looks and adeptness on the road. Good to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd
    I'm gathering from your description, and others I've read on the net, that it sacrifices very little offroad performance (if any) compared to "normal" mountain bikes (sloping TT, short HT, etc) despite its killer old school looks and adeptness on the road. Good to know.
    That does seem to be one of the overlooked aspects of the Rawland. Everyone touts how great they do as a gravel grinder, but they are every bit as great as a mountain bike as anything else out there in the full rigid category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssmike
    Well, all I can say is it's about time you found a great bike for them! Most of my bikes come to life because of some part I've hung onto for years.

    And, the Bell-Laps are a great bar for the Rawland. I've got a set on my Sogn that feel very dialed to the bike. Bar:seat height differential is a personal preference. I like mine a bit lower than most. The more I ride this bike with either the 700x45 or 650x2.2, the more I like it. It's "just right" for me and where I ride.

    SSMIKE
    What kind of brakes allow you to use 2 different wheel sizes ( that is if your not using disc brakes) I just ordered a Sogn and it's time to start gathering parts together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by number2
    SSMIKE
    What kind of brakes allow you to use 2 different wheel sizes ( that is if your not using disc brakes) I just ordered a Sogn and it's time to start gathering parts together.
    I'm using disc brakes (Avid BB7 road and' I've shimmed the rotors so the rotors are perfectly match with each wheelset) which allows for easy wheel swaps. Not wanting to take over the original post, you can see my build at this link: New Rawland dSogn build Although it appears that some of the photo links don't work and I can't edit the post to put in photo links that work. You can go HERE to see more of my build and ride report if you wish.

    If you want to be able to swap wheels and run rim brakes, the Paul Motolite BMX brake has enough adjustability to go from a 584 rim to a 622 rim. http://www.paulcomp.com/motobmx.html

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    [QUOTE=ssmike]I'm using disc brakes (Avid BB7 road and' I've shimmed the rotors so the rotors are perfectly match with each wheelset) which allows for easy wheel swaps. Not wanting to take over the original post, you can see my build at this link: New Rawland dSogn build Although it appears that some of the photo links don't work and I can't edit the post to put in photo links that work. You can go HERE to see more of my build and ride report if you wish.

    If you want to be able to swap wheels and run rim brakes, the Paul Motolite BMX brake has enough adjustability to go from a 584 rim to a 622 rim. http://www.paulcomp.com/motobmx.html[/QUOTe
    Thanks for the info. I read your ride report2 and it convinced me to go for it. I purchased the canti version (great buy) and I'll be using a Suntour XCPro group I've been saving for something like this so I'll have to go the Paulcomp route if I want to go 700c.

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