What intrigued me most about the bike is the TA Specialities triple crank, with 46-44-28 rings. With practice, an experienced rider can make half-step switches between a normal rear shift, by instead shifting to the larger front ring. Another half step up is a shift on the rear, and a return of the chain to the middle ring. After a little research, I've found some folks refer to this as mountain gearing, which makes sense on this bike, since it came from Denver.
Here's Jon, on the left, and Michael, on the right, two longtime blog friends. We gathered in July, 2011 to ride 60 miles on steep, hilly gravel in the Bloomington area. The barley water was necessary for pain management.
Just prior to the start of the Nashville 200K Brevet, in February, 2012. I added the Velo Orange front rack and Velo Orange bag. It didn't work as well as I had liked - the weight in the front, combined with the high-raised handle bars, resulted in wobbly downhill descents, of which there were plenty, beingst we were in Tennessee. However, the bike is very comfortable on long rides. The downside the current setup is the Tange fork prevents the use of fenders with 28mm tires. I believe I can squeeze in some 40mm fenders, but to get enough clearance between the top of the fork and the wheel, I'd need to use a really skinny tire, like a 23mm.
The current setup - This is during the 2012 Hilly Hundred in Bloomington. The mountain chainring setup doesn't work in southern Indiana. The hills are much shorter, but much steeper. Maybe a 34 or 36 middle ring would be better, with a 50 tooth larger ring for the downhill runouts.
Lately I've been thinking about changing this to a speedier setup with a different wheelset, different derailleurs, and a two ring crank for speedy, weekend club rides. Despite the weight of this bike, it seems pretty fast to me, and I'm able to keep up with my weekend touring mates fairly well.
Let's see what 2013 brings.