oneseventwentyfive/aeighttech – Canti Race-bike Updates
The.æight.bicycle.manufactøry’s first ‘cross bike has had a fantastic start to the season claiming plenty of top ten’s including one in Belgium – a week away from racing last weekend has given us the time to make some tweaks and have a look at some of the tech involved in the best ‘cross bike I’ve ever ridden…
Riding eight races on a frame which I built solo has been an absolute treat – even though I made no compromises with the geometry, the bike fits me so perfectly I really couldn’t have hoped for better. When the bike is on the turbo I immediately feel at home and when you ride it into the woods I can feel everything underneath me speaking at max volume! So there’s no need to change anything about my bar/stem/tape/post/saddle – my custom Fizik saddle and tape still looks boss too so finishing kit-wise there’s nowt to change.
Wheel-wise the handbuilt Ultegra/CX-Ray/OpenPro have performed brilliantly and despite Mavic’s recommendations they’ve set-up beautifully with three different sets of tubeless tyres now. Speaking of which, I’ve been doing loads of training on VeeTireCo’s excellent T-CX tyre which again sets up tubeless pretty simply – it’s a tiny bit narrow for the cross-country trails that I like to take my bike along but perfect for gravel and a recent day spent in the South Downs. The profile is an odd step shape, which in use helps bite into off-camber corners. The company is currently working on more ‘cross tyres so it’ll be interesting to see what comes.
Recently I won a set of Baby Limus which again have been set-up tubeless despite warnings of that not being possible – I’ve only spent two rides on them but initially they feel like they’re going to stick to anything. They’re probably the closest thing to a tub I’ve ever ridden and technically they should roll even faster due to the lack of a tube – we’ll see when we race them!
The Nokon cablesets are working well and seem easy to adjust – I would think I’ll be using them on most of the bikes in the future. Along with Ultegra mechs, which although are not the most recent version, which haven’t skipped a beat! I’ve completely stripped the chain and then cleaned it with an Ultrasonic Parts Washer, before treating it with Ceramicspeed’s new UFO Drip formula. Independent testing by Friction Facts proves that this treatment is the lowest friction lube or wax available – the added bonus for me is that testing has shown that the chain picks up less sand and grit, keeping my bike working for longer in the race.
Probably the biggest change I’ve made after the last few races has been the Praxis Works crank. The guys have been on at me for a while to give there chainrings a go – Praxis use a cold forging process which forces a plate of metal into the chainring shape with a huge force (unlike milling which cuts through the grain of the metal). Because the grain of the metal is kept intact the process makes for very strong and precise rings. The lifetime of the ring is improved and accuracy of the shift is perfect.
All of these changes will be tested in racing conditions – it’ll be interesting to see what happens and what’s possible next.
Photos by Glen Whittington.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Wildside Cycles and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany.
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