MMT’s gotta a new bike…woo hoo!!

Dear Rouleurs,

After many frustrating hours of window shopping MMT has finally purchased a new bike. Woo hoo!!! MMT has joined the ranks of cyclists that now own something loosely referred to as a gravel bike. MMT will revisit that theme later. The new bike is a 2021 Giant Content AR1. The AR bit stands for ‘All Road’.

Essentially was looking for a better quality commuter road bike that could handle more sedate offroad paths like railtrails. The other key requirement to The Giant Contend provides this via its relaxed geometry aluminium frame that can fit tyres up 38mm on 700c rims. The Contend comes with 32mm tubeless tyres, which MMT is having to get used to. MMT is struggling with the idea of running tyres at 50-65psi and not being able to easily fix punctures.

The other main requirement was for the bike have a drive train compatible with MMT’s Tacx Neo 2 trainer. MMT has Shimano Ultegra (50-34 and 11-32) on his Domane and trainer and wanted similiar groupset for reasons of compatibility. Happily, the Giant Contend is equipped with 105 (50-34 and 11-34) and not the more gravel popular GRX. Its also has hydraulic disc brakes…hooray.

Here’s the spec details plundered from Bikeradar.com

  • Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with a non-series RS510 chainset
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant P-R2 Disc wheelset
  • Giant Gavia Fondo 2 32mm tyres
  • Giant D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Giant D-Fuse D-shaped handlebars for increased comfort
  • 9.62kg claimed weight (medium)
  • note: that that its also has carbon fibre forks
  • £1,499 / $US1,550 / $AUD $2,499

It took MMT a long time to track down this bike. It first appeared on MMT’s radar late last year and has had generally favourable reviews. This one by Dave Rome at CyclingTips was one that convinced MMT, this was the correct choice.

Independant reviewers of the Contend have had consistent gripes.

a) The 105 shifters seem to rattle quite loudly on uneven surfaces – this is completely true. In fact, after riding super quiet and smooth Ultegra, its quite unnerving. MMT felt like that some bit of the bike was going to fall off.

b) The standard Giant tyres are a bit crap – the Gavia Fondo 2 tubeless aren’t very supple/grippy. Not sure about that one, they look more like commuter tyres than out and out gravel. So as long as they last and don’t puncture MMT can live with them.

c) The standard Giant rims are heavy – this is also true, the rims are heavy and the spokes are steel. A quick Google search suggests they weight just over 2.1 kgs. Hopefully this means they are indestructible and if broken cheap and easy to fix.

MMT’s other two gripes are that:

d) The Approach saddle just feels weird. Its quite hard and wide compared to the Selle C2 or quite firm Trek Montrose that MMT has placed his posterior on recently. If MMT could find a replacement Selle that was sub-$150 he would have bought it by now, and

e) The Shimano 105 shifter hoods are significantly bigger than the Ultegra hoods and feel quite bulbous to grip.

However this is all part and parcel of deciding which compromises you can live with on a sub-$2,500 bike. Coming back to Dave Rome’s review, fundamentally the bike is sound, has great quality running gear, a few minor quirks and is a bit heavy. It also only comes in a single colour…midnight blue. That sounds like a fair trade to MMT.

Until next time, ride safe, stay safe

MMT

Goodbye 2020, you’ve been no fun whatsoever…

Dear Rouleurs,

By any measure the year 2020, has been completely crap. As far as MMT can tell, the only other thing, besides this awful COVID-19 pandemic, that anyone will remember is that Trump didn’t get re-elected. However, MMT is thankful that his support team a.k.a. family hasn’t caught this dreadful virus and that he is still employed. There are many, many people in the world that can’t say that.

MMT would prefer to remember 2020 as the year where he saw his kids grow up at close range, he lost about 8kg and rode over 11,000km. The last two points of the sentence are, invariably related 😉 Certainly, an initial strict application of the 5:2 diet helped alot, in much the same way Christmas pigging out hasn’t.

However, MMT was surprised by his Strava stats for 2020. He was less thrilled that Strava only made them available through the app. So what follows below is a hastily taken set of screen shots from his iPhone. Eventually, MMT will update his ride log and do a Festive 500 blog.

Until next time, ride safe and stay safe,

MMT

And suddenly the world seems like a safer and saner place….

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT’s Blog has rarely strayed into political commentary, but after being glued to ABC and SBS’s coverage of the American election in early November, its time the gloves came off. Donald ‘Dump’ Trump was finally visited by the karma fairy. All the lying, cheating and no doubt soon to be revealed stealing has caught up with him and his cronies.

Finally, sanity prevails….thank you America’s voters.

Trump’s reaction of hiding in the White and sulking is a fitting footnote to his presidency. The American people living in the states of Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, who voted for the Biden-Harris ticket, take a bow. You’ve restored America’s international standing and made the world just that little bit better. Thank you.

MMT is going to have this put on a t-shirt….

Aside from die-hard Trump supporters, the most aggrieved group in American society, who will dearly miss Trump, are cartoonists. Once Trump is dragged by the Secret Service out of the Oval Office, what will they have as inspiration? So while this blog is openly disparaging of Trump and his lackeys, it offers its condolences to cartoonists world wide.

The following is smattering of cartoons that have caught MMT’s eye over the last couple of weeks

No doubt history will say that Donald Trump’s presidency was one of the greatest periods of time for political cartoonists.

Anyhoooo, that will MMT’s last foray into political commentary for this year, cycling is much more interesting.

Until next keep safe, ride safe and Make American Great Again

MMT