Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yet another beer can dream?

Well,  I seem to be locked in this Sisyphean task of becoming happy with riding an aluminum hardtail, and of course, a singlespeed at that.  Another new frame arrived that will be getting built up for duty, but what I usually do is strip the existing SS and move parts over.  This time I am working on a ground up build as I want to have both bikes up for the duration.

This is the new frame, a 2012 Specialized Carve Pro SS.  You won't see it in the Specialized website for USA and I actually cannot find it on any other country I checked, but it must exist as I have one.  Pretty, too.  Striking black and white motif and the tapered HT and hydroformed tubes are very stout looking.  Notice the lack of chainstay and seatstay bridges?  Also notice that there is no crimping of the chainstay at the chainring area?

This frame is kind of the next step up from the old Rockhopper SS frame I tested last year.  I liked a lot about that 'Hopper SS frame:  The spit shell eccentric BB, the long top tube, the handling, the short back end.  But the frame simply was not refined enough (too flexy) to make it a great SS choice, especially when the ride was only so-so as far as compliance.  However, even with the under-built chassis, it still pedaled very well and accelerated nicely.

So that brings me back to Sisyphus and that rolling rock of his.  I know that an SS frame should be a pedaling monster in that you want great transfer of power when it is stoked along.  Oversize and shaped aluminum tubes can provide that easily enough, but I really am smitten with the smooth ride of steel.  But steel can be heavy unless it is really expensive steel, like the recent Spot Rocker.  So here I am with the new Carve Pro SS, hoping that I will get great power transfer, lighter frame weight, and...hope hope...a decent ride.  They claim to have designed compliance into the rear of the frame and it looks like that may be true.  But I also have a plan...if the center of the bike is hard core, soften the edges a bit.

Specialized woke up corporately and spec'd 27.2mm seatposts on the hardtails I have seen for 2012.  That is sooo smart as a nice 27.2mm post will go a long ways toward softening the blows up through the saddle.  Then, run a WTB Pure V saddle.  Comfy, yet firm, and with a rear kick to it that allows you to unweight a bit and still put some power to the pedals.  Then, a decent fork...maybe even 100mm...not sure yet.  But at the bottom end, I am going to run some 2.25 tires or bigger and at a max of 25psi.  That ought to make a difference.

The Geax Saguaros will fill that bill for now and although they are a bit of a weight hit in the TNT casing version, the benefit is an ability to run at lower pressures and still have the tire casing retain decent handling manners, unlike less stout tires.   They also are pretty tall and roll like a ghost.  We shall see how that works out.  Can I get an alu bike to give me that better than steel response and steering and yet not pummel me into submission?  We shall see.  I think that between what the Big S did in the design lab and what I will do is going to be a good combo.  I know this frame looks darn fast and fun, if a frame can do that.  If not, then there is always carbon if I can find a carbon SS frame that I think is right for me.  Most are too race oriented, like the Stumpjumper Carbon SS and the Niner Carbon.  So, I go into this build with renewed hopes of a better all around bike for my needs.

Me and Sisyphus.  We are such romantics. 


Dave said...

I must say, that frame does look nice. I prefer the look of a steel SS, but this does look cool.

Why do you favor this EBB? I like my sliders a lot, but I generally take big swings at gearing changes for different applications so I actually have been juggling ratios so I don't have to mess with their position. So an EBB would be quite suitable when used in a "set it and forget it," mode.

What size tires do you think it will accommodate in the back? I also dig the look of the bridge-less stays.

I'll be interested to see how this one progresses.

grannygear said...

@Dave...well, I have found that the split shell EBB is quiet and slip free. I never change gearing, but if I did it would be only a tooth or two.

My buddy Guitar Ted has seldom seen a bike with sliders welded on perfectly straight so the tire is always a compromise in alignment!

Good question on tire size. We shall see. I think I could get a 2.3 in there, but it remains to be seen.


sdm said...

Good comments. The frame is on the local Specialized website for Australia. Not sure what it would cost here in Australia; but it has some details here:

grannygear said...

Thanks, SDM!