More on the IRO

I’m hooked. This despite the fact that the top tube is too long for me. It’s actually about the same length as the top tube on one of my Schwinns, but the handlebars on the IRO are further because the horizontal section connecting them to the stem (there is a term for it that I forgot) is much longer than the Schwinn’s. I picked 110mm instead of 100mm because I wanted greater steering sensitivity, but in any case I think I need it to be reduced by more than 1cm! One thing that will help is moving the saddle slightly more in front relative to the seatpost. I think I can afford to do that since my legs are slightly further in front of my torso than they would be if I were on the Schwinn. Another option is to get a shorter version of that part which I don’t know the name of. Yet another option is to get those funky moustache bars that the Redline 925, which was my original choice for a fixie, has. I still wish I could have gotten the Redline instead not only because it’s cheaper, but because it’s more commuter friendly. Fenders, and all that. And the freewheel on the flip-flop hub, which I thought at that time would come in useful (but don’t think so anymore — it’s true what they say, after you try fixed gear you don’t want to return to clicky uncontrollable freewheels). But perhaps my second choice will pay off in the long run, if it really has better components.

In my defence, IRO doesn’t have women-specific bikes. LIke most women my legs are relatively long compared to my torso, so I want a tall but not long frame. Too bad Terry don’t manufacture fixies. 56cm is the right frame height for me but way too long. I would probably have chosen 53cm if they had that in stock, but I suspect the center tube length that I want is probably closer to the one on the 50 cm frame anyway! Which would be too low for me. Although I’m still unclear as to what “too low” means. What is the problem with having a low frame and a really high seatpost?

Other major source of discomfort is the saddle. Again I didn’t want to wear my pocketless bike shorts and suffered for it. Will never be that lazy again if I’m going on rides of more than half an hour. Ouch ouch ouch. Or rather, no ouch. Numb crotch, was what the problem was. Numb crotch, backache, the only blots on an otherwise great ride.

Gearing, as I suspected, is indeed rather large, but I can still accelerate faster than on my Schwinns because the IRO is so much lighter. Now the Schwinns feel really odd. Feel too “spinny” on flat ground yet I’m grinding like crazy just to get going at traffic junctions. And of course there’s the strange feeling of zero resistance when I try to backpedal on them. Almost forget the brakes are there. And one really noticeable defect of the Schwinns, compared to the IRO, is how much they bounce after hitting potholes/bumps. I thought that was just normal but compared to the Schwinns the IRO feels like it has a suspension. The Varsity oscillates for quite some time after being bumped, as though the entire frame is made of springs (which I suppose it is, for a given value of “spring”). The Continental just feels like it’s transmitting the force to my body with zero damping.

Had coveted the Raleigh Rush Hour as well, but read that the gearing is 48/15 (compared to my ignorantly chosen 46/15)! Something to feel good about, I suppose. Although I contradict myself by feeling good about the training I’m giving my thigh muscles. Heaven knows they need it.

Biggest difficulty is still getting the pedals into takeoff position at traffic junctions. Limited trackstand training not advancing very well, unsurprisingly. A few times when I took off rather late at junctions because I was still figuring out how to manoeuvre the pedals into takeoff position. Getting quite adept at fitting other foot into pedal within one revolution. Should have returned power grips, eh?


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