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Friday, May 18, 2007

First Impressions

Now this is based on just two short (5 mile) rides. I hope to do a longer one this weekend and will report back.

Let me say up front that none of this is a "complaint" -- I am just reporting on how my NWT is different from my old bike (a Raleigh Hybrid).

First off, while intellectually I knew the smaller wheels didn't make for faster peddling (thanks to the magic of gear ratios), I don't think I believed it 100%. Because they first thing I said to myself was "Hey, this is just like a real bike." Once I got going I didn't even notice until I looked down and thought "Dude! Where's my front wheel?" The other warning about small wheels was that you feel the bumps a little more and this definitely was true. I can see why people get a suspension seat if they are going be riding on rougher surfaces. It was not at all bad on our slightly bumpy streets and bike paths, but it was noticeable.

My Raleigh has big wide "Beach Cruiser" style handlebars and the NWT has much narrower "H" bars. That is understandable because even split they have to fit in the suitcase. But with the Grip Shifters in there there is not a lot choices of hand position where you can also reach the brakes. Not a problem, but will take some getting used to.

Speaking of the Grip Shifters, they are exactly backward from my Raleigh -- there to downshift I turn clockwise, but on the SRAM shifters on the NWT I downshift by turning counter-clockwise. Again, no big deal but it will take some getting used to.

I also purchased a Detours Cruiser Handlebar Bag. I've never used a handlebar bag before and this looked like a nice one. I liked the map cover that snaps to the top. However with the narrow handlebars I think it made everything too crowded. It also made it harder to get to the breaks and it also interfered with the Garmin eTrex GPS that I use as a bike computer. So I've removed the bag -- at least until I can figure out another way to mount the GPS.

The water bottle cage is a long way down :)

But all in all I am very, very happy. The bike is fun to ride.

Yesterday I was somewhat disappointed that no passers-by made any comments. After all it is an unusual bike and I am a fairly big guy to be on such a small bike. Well today I was riding with She Who Must Be Obeyed and she mentioned that people were indeed checking out the bike as we passed. I feel much better.

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