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First ride with Ekar
 

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

10/27/22 12:31 PM

First ride with Ekar

Took the Cervelo out on the road so not a proper 'gravel' test. Meh.

First off, this is clearly Campy. Everything is well-designed and works nearly perfectly.

The hood shape is noticeably more severe in its shape/curvature than my current 11spd Super Record I'm running on my Strong. This actually made me realize I tend to ride with my hands in a position that straddles the point of the shifter and the flat of the hood because that position is not at all comfortable on Ekar. I was either fully on the flat or gripping the nub, which is also taller than SR11, and never in between. I don't see this as either positive or negative, just something to note. I didn't have a problem with them and maintained acceptable levels of comfort for the entire ride.

The levers curve back a fair bit which makes braking from the drops very easy and controllable. No worries about having to think about stretching out a long distance, they were just there. The swoop design on the downshift lever is bloody brilliant. The one area where the old Campy design left something to be desire was down-shifting from the drops. It's a long trip for the thumb to reach up and pull down on the old school tab-shaped levers. The new one creates a multi-level option, you have a traditional tab for when you're on the hoods but the swoop is now exactly where your thumb wants it to be when you're down low. I did some sprints (to be clear, I am and always shall be a horrible and pathetic sprinter) and this made a massive difference to my stability.

I was surprised at how consciously aware I was of there being no shift paddle on the left side. Experientially it stuck out in my awareness a lot. I often unconsciously 'flap' the paddles in time to whatever tune is going through my head (I don't listen to music when I ride but I often get an earworm going...) and that isn't going to work the same way with Ekar. Also neither positive or negative, just is.

The 13spd rear der is a bit fussy, tbh. Took a bit of fine tuning to get the tension just right for the entire range of the cassette. Not terribly surprising as 13 cogs is a lot to fit into the same space as the 10 or 11 that used to be the most you could have. I've read that the cable tension can require regular re-adjustment but after only one ride I have no comment on that.

As I've mentioned before, by choosing the 44t front ring and the 9t cog I lost nothing in terms of high end speed. In fact, I gained about 1.75 gear inches IIRC, so effectively the same as my 53x11 on the Strong. But on the bottom end, 44x42, I definitely gained the ability to spin up steeper climbs vs grinding/standing. I'd say anything up to about 10% (did as much as 12% on this route) can be spun up in manner that allows me to stay in target training zone. Above that, it's grind city but that threshold went up significantly.

A confounding, but very minor, variable is that this is the first time I've ridden 170mm cranks. This was suggested by my bike fitter this spring and I didn't really notice any difference. This is something I'll pay more attention to as I swap out cranks on the other bikes.

The crank arms also come with replaceable caps in case you're a hardcore off-roader constantly bashing into rocks and stumps.

On the high (referring to gear inches) end of the cassette, transitions are very smooth and easy. Fine-tuning of cadence/target power are no problem at all. The same is mostly true in the middle. But, as you might imagine even after only a cursory look at the Ekar cassette, gear changes on the low end are a bit more noticeable. I found myself in between gears at a couple points, i.e. wanted to spin more than the taller gear allowed and was spinning more than I wanted in the shorter gear, but honestly this wasn't enough to be called a negative...there is only so much a groupset can do. Overall I never felt like I was missing having multiple chainrings or that the gearing available was in any way insufficient or unworkable.

Now, just throw a 60T ring on the front and you've got an insane TT drivetrain with that 9t cog :-D

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

10/27/22 5:06 PM

Seems like GRX and maybe Ekar are a bit like the ST-685 and Hylex hydo shifters. In that having a master cylinder in the lever make them very long. And even with my gorilla hands they are too big for my druthers.

Now the ST-R8000 Di2 levers on my last hydro install are way comfortable without the same traits to my hands..

I still like rim brakes more anyway...

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6745
Location: Maine

10/28/22 3:24 PM

Should have an Ekar ride soon

Iím told my bike should be ready to ship Monday or Tuesday. Soldering dynamo wires today.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

10/28/22 8:25 PM

So your late April deposit is netting an early November custom delivery?

That's pretty quick really...

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6745
Location: Maine

10/29/22 10:03 AM

Quicker than my Sachs!

Yes, no complaints about service with these guys.

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/1/22 6:16 AM

Will hopefully be getting my Pursuit by mid Nov as well, which makes it about 4mo (14JUL order). Just in time to put it in the garage for the winter. :P

Quick update on the Ekar experience. Took it out again yesterday and did some harder climbing and I found one drawback of the swoop shift lever design. When I'm standing and gripping the hoods on a climb, my fingers wrap around and hit the bottom of the swoop. Therefore, downshifting if I want to go a bit harder is fairly awkward and I had to move my fingers to make the shift. Probably something you can get used to but I don't think I have unusually long fingers or oversized hands. I can see this being a problem in a race situation where the less you have to think about the better.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4968
Location: Nashua, NH

11/2/22 4:45 AM

That's really valuable information to know, Rob, so thanks for sharing. It also explains why they didn't incorporate Multi-Shift. That's three reasons why I'll stick with Campy 2x systems, the other being smaller gearing gaps.

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/2/22 5:07 AM

Just another data point, I did the same route yesterday morning and didn't have an issue shifting out of the saddle on those climbs. Didn't really notice why. Not sure if I adapted already or one of the two rides was just different. I'll try to keep track.

But tbh I'm highly enamored of the group. I really enjoy the simplicity of not having to muck about with front shifting when the grade changes. I could even see putting this on a pure road bike and having no regrets. Again, the gaps in gearing are relatively large on the low end of the cassette and will take some more time getting used to, but overall it's a brilliant design and I'm loving it.

My only real question remaining is the longevity of that 13spd chain...but I remember everyone having those same concerns about that crazy skinny 11spd chain when they came out. If the number of cogs continues to increase in the future there's is definitely a point where durability will suffer but I have no idea yet if 13spd is that point. I hope not.

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/2/22 10:35 AM

Ok, I think I've got it sorted. I must have been rotating my hand a lot that first ride. I played with it today on my flat ride and did some standing sprints to check.

When my radius/ulna are in line with the hoods, as they should be, there is no crowding of the shift lever by my fingertips. But if I rotate my grip so that the forearm bones have their long axis to the outside of the hoods, which subsequently rotates my hand and fingers farther under the hoods, then the fingers crowd the tab.

So really it was likely just bad hand position that first ride that I unconsciously corrected yesterday.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6745
Location: Maine

11/14/22 4:55 PM

Ekar bike here!

Bike was held up in shipping a bit, but arrived today! Stayed home from the office this pm because they needed a signature, and fortunately the truck arrived when I was here.

Probably wonít open the box until this weekend, but hopefully will get a ride in.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

11/14/22 4:57 PM

I'd have that box open so fast after the guy left it wouldn't be funny. ;)

Did they cover shipping or was that on top of bike cost. Because that was fast fast fast...

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/15/22 5:39 AM

Pics when you get it set up, please. :)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

11/16/22 5:12 PM

Snow headed your way Rob?

Looks like most of the state this time around VS way north...

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/16/22 8:12 PM

I mounted the snowblower on the tractor Saturday. Got the first sticking snowfall last night, just an inch and all but gone by mid afternoon but it's definitely here.

The most wonderful time of the year, my ass. ;)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

11/18/22 11:24 AM

We need a new bike by proxy, let's get a move on that Breadwinner Dan. ;)

I am over my quota for another new/newer one here in reality. Although 2023 isn't too far away, right?



I am keeping an eye out for a steel or Ti canti fame, the right one... I shoulda never bought Dan in WV Paul's Canti brakes stash... I got this resto mod lust for a IndyFab or similar CX build if I can find something old school with less of the old school high CX BB than avg.


Breadwinner wise, I got a spot just for your pics on my FTP server in wait...

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RCoapman
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 4913
Location: Back in the snowy homeland

11/18/22 1:11 PM

Carl has a 58cm Pursuit available.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

11/18/22 4:08 PM

Gravel, Road, or Allroad? I should got down to see it @ King, meant to .. but life got in the way...

And I am all about those neo greens too if you mean the King 58CM.

EDIT: Exactly my size too...

I got the plastic well covered for CX thru fat road applications. Honestly my favs of the gravel and woods bikes are steel, not plastic.

The last few years of CX like Boones and Crux etc are cheap and perfectly suited to Allroad. Even Domanes since 2018 disc only are excellent 'Allroads' unless you want 45-50mm+ tires. I got a 29er for that.. ;)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 18661
Location: PDX

11/18/22 10:51 PM

Howz that snow blower holding up Rob?


Said sale Pursuit Allroad.

https://www.pursuitcycles.com/shop/king-open-house-show-bike-482#attr=

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