A Few Enhancements

drive side

It was just five hours of pedaling. There were no bizarre roadside encounters today. There was no hammock hanging or coffee brewing. No S24O this time. Conditions were unusually pleasant with light wind and an overcast sky to keep the heat in check. It was a good day to tick off some miles. It was, I guess, a sort of shakedown ride for a few recent enhancements. Just in time for summer.


Newer honey saddle in place of the older, darkened green saddle. The old saddle was showing signs of age and it seemed a change in color might be fun.

Albatross bars in place of the drops. After further research (riding the Quickbeam with albatross bars consistently for a few weeks), and contrary to original thought, albatross bars are not the cause of my upper back/neck issues. Apparently, the pain that nudged me back to drops last time was a timing coincidence.

Ergon grips instead of the traditional cork. Using standard round grips without care, I can let the bar ends of an albatross bar work into that nerve groove in the middle of the wrist. That can cause some nagging discomfort. So having a wider support at the bar end seemed like a smart thing to try. These are the GC1 Biokork Ergon grips and they are designed for swept-back bars. Admittedly, they don’t have a traditional look (which I like) of the standard round cork grips, but they absolutely work. These grips are plush.


There was also a hat upgrade. Riding for hours in the Texas sun with little-to-no shade can really raise my body temperature. I’ve been wearing a Tilley hat recently, which is a great hat, but perhaps not ideal for the hottest direct sun conditions. After pondering a little, it seemed finding a hat with a lighter color, more ventilation, and a wider brim would be more comfortable on the hottest days. That combination sounded like the familiar head wear of my ranching neighbors. All I needed to do was add a stampede string to keep the thing from blowing off my head. It still needs to be tested on a hotter day, but I can already tell it is an improvement.

Well summer is now here, and I guess I’m as ready as I as can be.


20 thoughts on “A Few Enhancements

  1. Hey Chris, I really like the hat. I had this epiphany a while ago and had a straw cowboy hat as here in SoCal the sun does beat down. What bummed me out was the front brim floated up on down hill sections, not the end of the world. I like the changes. ~Hugh

  2. Chris,
    Nice hat and ride report.
    I have Ergon grips and they have worked great for 5+ years now.
    I just bought my first Tilley recently, just for the summer season.
    Shoulda bought a wide brim cowboy hat when I was there in Texas.

    Enjoy your summer riding!

    Peace 🙂

  3. if only Australians could ride with a wide brimmed hat, it is Texas sun from one coast to the other here and we have to wear a foam lid (keeps the heat in)

    • I don’t know about trends and style, but I do know a little about riding a bicycle in northwest Denton County. Maybe what works here would apply in other places and conditions.

  4. Nice changes. Especially the ergon grips. I too have found the advantages of this style. For upright riding it adds a nice platform to “rest” the hands, unique to each individual and bar set up. Pedal on through the heat.

  5. A very nice set-up there. Regarding grips, are you familiar with the Portland Design Works ‘Dapper Dan’ (in honey) or Whisky (in brown or black) stitched leather grips, in the same pattern as Ergons. I have Ergon on a modern koga Miyata trekking bike, and the PDWs on a Gazelle Dutch roadster, and on another bike equipped with Albatross bars. All of the grips are excellent, so if you don’t care for the Ergon’s looks, give the PDWs a try.

    • I think I’ve made peace with these grips for now. I was not aware of the PDW grips, however, and will consider those in future grip ponderings. Much thanks!

  6. Hi Chris, I enjoy your posts on equipment. I am running Albatross bars on my LHT with cork grips from Rivendale. The cork cracked so I am looking for replacements. I have ergons on my Ogre and I like them but my LHT uses bar-cons. When I talk with Ergon they flat say barcons will not work with their grips. Have you heard or seen otherwise???. If I can’t make it all work I am considering going back to drops.
    Thanks, Jim

    • In response to someone else who asked, I took a bar end shifter pod and inserted it into the end of the Ergon grip. It fits well enough, but the shift cable exit hole in the pod is partially obstructed by the metal part of the Ergon grip. Unless someone can figure a way to modify the Ergon grip (not me), I don’t think bar end shifters work with Ergon grips. Fortunately for me, I’m happy with my downtube shifters.

      • Thanks Chris! this saves me the order and try method, which can be frustrating!!

  7. I’ve enjoy your website and reading your posts. So did the Albatrosses get cannibalized from the Quickbeam or were a new set in order for the AHH?

  8. Thanks for the report. The Ergons plus the partial tape wrap really look nice. I’d felt that Rivendell’s bars all came back too straight for my taste but I need to re-consider. Having that open area at the curve looks like an alternate position that could be useful. Compared to your drop bar set-up, what length stem did you use?

    • Hey Doug, I admit the albatross made me ponder whether they might be too straight back, but I’ve adjusted my grip/hand placement. Now the Ergon grips have made a huge improvement. The flare on both sides of the grip end of the GC1 grip allow the hand (when holding the end of the bar) to flare out a bit instead of being almost parallel to the top tube.

      I found that using the same 10cm stem works well for me. The upright end of bar position and slightly forward leaning front of bar curve are both just right. I use a lot of small hand placement variation from bar end to just past my twine.

      With these bars, it took a lot of experimentation with stem length, stem height, and bar rotation. But now it is dialed in nicely.

      • Good to hear the Ergons work. I have some regular Ergons on On One Mary bars on my Atlantis, and like the chubby flat part. Hearing that the CG1s flare out enough to make a difference is encouraging. Seeing all that open real estate for more hand positions is tempting. I would be remiss in my upright bar quest if I didn’t try the Albatross. And your whole set-up just looks so good.

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