Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Early Morning Gravel.

Go out for some early morning gravel today.  I needed it.  The ride offered a couple of firsts, the first real hard ride on my new Salsa Casseroll, and the first ride of the season in wool and knickers.  It was a crisp 61 deg day, with a light breeze out of the west.  The gravel surface for most of the route was just on the wet side of dry.  It was just enough to keep dust down but maintain a nice tacky feel, non dragging feel.

These wheels just roll.  I'm growing more fond of the Casseroll the more I ride it.  Shod in these tires on these wheels it eats up roads.  They spin up hills with little effort and roll forever.  The Continental Speed CX tires in 42c are as close to a perfect local gravel tire as I've used.

Long shadow morning light is awesome.

Creek with a hint of moon reflection just north west of Nerstand.  Beautiful blue in color, my crappy camera doesn't even come close to capturing it to it's fullest.

Rolling hills sheltered by giant cottonwood trees.

A little movement shot to get the feel of the morning. The Avid Ultimate brakes on this bike are far and away the nicest cantilever brakes I've used.  Easy to set up, really stiff and smooth, they have both really good power and modulation.

Bad photo quality, straight into the sun, but I like it.  Kind of a cool quality to it.

This morning was as close to a perfect ride as I've had in a long time.  I'm going to try and get out again tonight to double it up, try and cash in on my thankful good graces today.  Have a great day folks, get out there and ride. 


Guitar Ted said...

Nice shots, Ben. Glad you are getting out for some riding. It was a glorious time to be out on a bicycle today, for sure!

Ben said...

Thanks Mark. I hope to get more photos tonight. I might throw the lights on and go out for a real night ride, we'll see.

MMcG said...

Great blog entry. The gravel road conditions and those wheels/tires look like a match made in heaven.

I can see how it must have been an amazing grin inducing ride!

J-No said...

How do you like the casseroll for gravel? I'm currently riding a Cross Check, but the head tube is pretty short (I ride a 52cm). HT is 9cm with a 54cm TT. I have the parts for a build, but looking for a good gravel frame. I'd leave the CC as a SS.

Ben said...

Jason, I really like the Casseroll on gravel. It is stable, comfortable, and stiff enough to really have a good "jumpy" feel. It clears those big 42c Conti tires great, which would be the biggest tire I would run on it. It also has all the rack braze-ons and three bottle cage mounts. These are something I've really grown to appreciate on long gravel rides with uncertain water stops.

I have the similar issues with Cross Checks for my personal use. The head tubes are too short for the size, and they run long. The head tube on the on the 55cm Casseroll, (545mm ETT length,) is a healthy 150mm. On my 56cm bike I only ran 20 mm of spacers and it's a perfect height. I like the fact that the Casseroll's headtubes mean there is less fork steer tube unsupported. I think that contributes a lot to the planted feeling on the front end.

All in all it's a great bike. As a canti equipped, geared/ss option, I'd say it's the best around right now. Much as I hate to say it, I like it better than the venerable Cross Check across the board.

David said...


The Salsa site states that the Casseroll can take up to a 700x38 tire. How are you getting the 42s to fit. Much clearance? Do you have any other pics of the bike we can see?


Ben said...


I am running a Bontrager Carbon fork in my bike. It does have more clearance than the stock fork, but these tires will safely fit in the stock fork. Clearance is about 6 mm on all side with the tire on a stock rim at 55psi stretched. Clearance on the rear is no issue at all.

The tires look like the bike was made for them. Forget about fenders, that's probably not going to happen. These tires though labeled 42c measure an actual 38.5mm at their widest point, so Salsa's site is correct. A true 38c tire is probably the safe limit here.

I will be posting up a full write up of the bike early next week with build photos and a early impressions.

Tim said...

Cool update, thanks for sharing. Really looking forward to the info on your high end Casseroll build as I purchased the complete one this summer and am really enjoying it.