About Ridingagainstthegrain

Like many of my peers, before I delve too deeply into a new hobby and before I make a major equipment purchase, I let my fingers do the walking and do some online research.  When doing that research, there are many different types of results that one obtains.  There are the “manufacturer’s comments” type of review, the “no detail other than to say I love/hate this product” type of review, etc.  Once in a great while, I’m lucky enough to run across a detailed review that provides adequate information to base a purchase decision on.  That’s what I’m hoping to do with RATG…to provide information to my peers, that will help them make better decisions.  No punches pulled, no holds barred.

The blog was named Riding Against the Grain because I have Celiac’s disease–basically a very severe allergy to gluten, dairy and oats.  When I started the blog, my dietary challenges defined a lot of what I wrote about, and much of my interest was focused on that issue.  Over time, I’ve worked to not let that disease define me or my interests, and I’ve worked to become a better cyclist despite the manifestations of that disease.  Some of my early posts are, in retrospect, pretty embarrassing.  Nonetheless, I leave them up as a reminder to myself of where I’ve come from.  Hopefully, you find something here that’s of use.  Enjoy the pages.


21 thoughts on “About Ridingagainstthegrain

  1. Great blog – love the consistency…I have a question if you don’t mind: Salsa cycles…Having a hard time deciding between a colossal 2, a vaya 2 and a warbird 2. Wondered if you’d weigh in…I’m 46, and just got hit by a car – the accident didn’t hurt me too much, but the Cannondale carbon 6 6 that I put several thousand miles on did not survive. I had some mavic ksyrium wheels on it and loved the bike and it’s 105 components – even after 5 years. I’m 5’10 and weigh around 220 now…my avg road ride speed usually was around 17mph (solo). My question is, will the vaya be too slow – the reason i’m considering it is i’d like to get off the road a bit more…worried that the vaya will be a slug – not that I’m in search of a sub 15lb ride or anything…which one of the three? and will i notice the aluminum warbird being too harsh compared to my canon dale?

    • What kind of riding are you looking to do? Gravel? Pave? All of the above? Group rides?

      I don’t think a Vaya would be a slug, but unless you need rack/fender mounts, I’d look at the Warbird over the Vaya. I think it would be less of a shock in transitioning for you.

      As for the Warbird versus Colossal, in large measure that’s a question of how much tire clearance you need. There are geometry questions as well, but the Warbird will give you a bit more flexibility for bigger tires (and you can run some HUGE tires on it).

      Without knowing more, unless you’re looking to run racks or fenders, I’d probably lean towards the Warbird. If you had a heavy emphasis on road, I’d look at the Colossal.

  2. Thanks for taking the time – truly appreciated…Last one: you don’t think the Warbird would be too harsh compared to the Cannondale Carbon?

    • With good tires, set up tubeless, the vast majority of the problem can be addressed. If you persist with issues, you can use a better seat post and/or bars to address vibration issues. But overall no, I don’t think it would be too harsh.

      Warbird Ti is pretty sweet, if you can swing it, though…and a bit sweeter riding.

  3. I own an XC hardtail, and I am interested in your honest opinion on what trail bike frame you would most recommend for a FS trail bike: Niner RIP, Salsa Horsethief or Yeti SB-95?

    • I’ve ridden the RIP. Nice bike, but not my thing. I wasn’t thrilled with the geometry. Between those two, it’s an easy call to the Horsethief for me.

      I haven’t ridden the SB-95, but understand that it’s pretty amazing. If I was you, I’d try to ride that and the Horsethief and see what you like better.

      For me, I don’t have a good Yeti dealer in the area, so it’s an easy choice…I’d go Salsa and work with a fantastic Local Bike Shop.

      • Awesome reply, thank you. I demoed the RIP yesterday (the RIP 9 RDO, actually) and liked but did not love it. I’m looking forward to getting on a Yeti SB-95 next week, but I’m currently leaning towards Horsethief. I’m guessing I can’t really go “wrong” with one of those two frames based on everything I’ve read, and I appreciate your input!

      • Just an FYI. I bought my Horsethief in July, built it up and started riding just before the carbon 2014 frames were announced, and have been loving that bike. Yeah, there’s a small part of me that wishes I’d know the carbon frames were coming, but I am thrilled with the Horsethief, and I am very glad I decide on it as my new Trail bike.

  4. I enjoy the blog, good feedback on equipment I wouldrude and consider. That being said, I have a Moots CR for the road and am looking hard at the Routt models. Since you have the same geometry as the Routt, have you ever found yourself wishing or needing more rear tire clearance than the 34F/38R you are running now? I can’t decide between the longer and standard seat stays. Plan to ride gravel rides and commute mainly.


    • Great question.

      I can run larger in the front, if desired. In the rear, I can run a true 35, but no larger. I run a 34 because the Bontrager CX0 is my favorite tire of this nature, and that’s the size it’s available in.

      I thought long and hard about this question, twice–with my original Moots frame and with this one. In a perfect world, they’d make a frame with the Routt geometry that had clearance for a 38 in the rear, and the short chain stays. But since they don’t make that frame (as they say that the bends are impossible), the decision is either to go with the narrower rear end and short chain stays, or more tire clearance and chain stays that are an inch longer.

      There are few occasions where I find myself wanting more than a 34c tire on this bike. There are a TON of occasions where I’m thankful for the zippiness of the short chain stays. In the realm of compromises, I’d take the narrower rear clearance with short chain stays every day of the week. With the Routt45 or Minotaur rear end, the chain stays and rear geometry looks more like a Vaya than a PsychloX. To me, the short chain stays help make the bike. They make it so lively, agile, and alive. They make it explode forward when you get on the pedals.

      If you’re never going to push the pace, do the 45. What do you have to lose? But if you’re ever going to want a lively, quick ride…man, I love my geometry. Love it. I wouldn’t change it for anything (again, unless Moots releases a ‘best of both worlds’ frame with the short chain stays and more clearance).

      In answer to the direct question, I can’t think of a single time when I’ve NEEDED more tire clearance. Even riding clay and deep mud, the Routt does fine. I’ve wanted more, but that’s been more theoretical than anything.

  5. What is your opinion as to the best tire to use for the DK 200. I can’t fit anything larger than a 40 and that is starting to get a little close on clearance. Would also prefer to set up tubeless.

    • I haven’t ridden DK, so I’m not in a great position to comment. I’ve heard that it’s pretty rough in areas.

      But…you’re looking for an excellent tire for gravel, tubeless, smaller than 40c? That sounds like a Bontrager CX0 in 38c to me…

  6. Hello,
    I see you have a older post on a 2013 Salsa El Mar SS. I have one of these bikes and I have wrenched rear triangle on the frame. Wondering if you might be interested in selling your frame. Looking for a Large. Please email to respond.

  7. I’m glad to find a blogger who loves cycling and is also afflicted with Raynaud’s. I’m often jealous of other riders who wear normal shoes and socks or even no gloves when the temperature drops below 50 and I am struggling to keep my extremities from going numb with full-finger gloves and woolen socks.
    I saw your review of the Gore WS Thermo Lobster Glove and it’s given me the confidence to buy them and hopefully put my numb finger issues in the past. Now, I’m curious as to what you do to keep your feet comfortable. I’m sure you’ve had those rides where your foot protection was not adequate and ended up with numb toes and heels, only to suffer the post-ride pain of the nerves firing as the blood returned to the blue/white portions of your foot. What’s kind of worked for me so far has been Sidi Hydro GTX shoes with a thick wool sock. This kind of works but my feet will eventually become numb after 30-40 miles, depending on how cold it is. I was considering electrically heated insoles, but the reviews I’ve read have not been good. What do you recommend?

    • I’ve gone to a series of different technologies for different purposes. The WS Thermos work well with a wool liner, or a chemical warmer…I’ve also had good luck with the Rapha deep winter gloves with a wool liner (and sometimes a chemical warmer). When it’s REALLY cold, I’ve gone to battery powered gloves, but haven’t reviewed them here yet.

      For shoes, I wear a pair of Shimano waterproof boots (MW-81) that I’ve had for years. I wear them for road use in any temps (with chemical warmers when it’s below 20 degrees). When I’m riding my fatbike, I wear a pair of 45NRTH Wolvhammers. You can find my reviews of both on here. The newest generation of Wolvhammers look awesome. Honestly, with thick wool socks and Wolvhammers, I’ve never had cold feet on the bike. The only time my feet got cold was organizing a winter race, where I was standing on snow all day.

      • Thanks for the response.
        Those Rapha’s are not cheap – are they worth the extra cost over the Gore gloves in your opinion?

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