I’ve been looking at what I’m currently ‘curating’ as part of my bike collection and have come to conclusion that my best option is to try and harmonise my wheel and braking options across both the Inbred and Five. That’s in the interests of an easy life really—of course!— and is in no way a poorly disguised effort to buy some new kit. No, not at all.
So what’s in the pipeline?
Well, first off I’m planning to buy some of those MT65 Shimano wheels which are currently available for a decent price off Merlin for the Inbred. I figure I’ll gain two things, first a much quieter freehub than my current Hope hub, laced to my 317 wheelset; and stealth running is good when you’re singlespeeding. By far the more compelling feature though is that the Shimano rims are fully UST compatible, complete with a sealed spokebed meaning no need for rim strips.
I think the argument over running tubeless is slowly tipping toward UST at long last. Those that have tried it (and I’ve been running Mavic 819s for a couple of years now on the Five) know that it offers so much in terms of puncture-free running that the occassional need to grapple with latex fluid is worth the effort. All the other much-vaunted benefits, such as lower tyre pressures and a more supple tyre are just a sideshow in my opinion; it’s the lack of punctures that does it for me which is why the Shimano wheels look so attractive.
Of course I’ll still travel with a back up of tubes, tyre boots, patches, pump and tyre repair kits just as I always have but it will be nice not to have to worry too much with that.
The next upgrade I have in mind is some Elixir Avid CRs for the Orange. I’ve used Elixir Fives on the Inbred all winter and they’ve been terrific with lots of stopping power and great feel considering they’re running just 160mm rotors.
By switching out the Hope Mono M4s on the Orange I’ll be able to use the same brake pads across both bikes, a big benefit for me in cutting down on hassle. There’s nothing wrong with the M4s of course, it’s just I fancy using brakes with the same feel across both bikes. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue to run my 180mm floating front Hope rotor and might switch to a 160mm floating back one which is all the Five really needs.
So, with a bit of eBay juggling I reckon my bikes will be looking a bit different in the next few weeks. I’ll probably add some Goodridge braided hoses to the Avids in due course too. White on the Inbred is an attractive option and, curiously, perhaps on the Five too. Let’s wait and see.