I’ve started riding with a small group of riders occasionally. These guys are all faster than me and I have to work hard to keep up. They mostly ride fast road bikes, with Carbon and other modern technologies. The first time I rode with them was on the New Moon Metric Century. I rode the LHT on that ride and it became very apparent that the LHT is not the best bike for that type of ride. The LHT is perfect for covering the distance, but it is heavy. I had always held on to that as a “Badge of Honor”, but I left that ride thinking one thing, I need a lighter steel bike.
So for the Solvang Metric Century I rented a Salsa Casseroll from Topanga Creek Bicycles. My LHT in commuter form weighs in at 45lbs. That is including a change of clothes, tools, water etc. The Casseroll is only 25lbs. A noticeable difference. On the Solvang ride I felt like I was flying. The bike felt so light that it was like I was cheating. It comes stock with a triple, fenders and braze-ons for a rear rack. So it’s still keeping with my theme. The only problem I had with the rental bike was a weird feeling while using the drops. I felt cramped and it handled like there was too much weight on the front.
After the Solvang ride I decided that I wanted to keep this rental. The shop did a formal fitting and determined my size. The Casserolls have a sloping top tube, so the sizing is a little different than the LHT. It turned out that the rental bike was one size too small. The shop had a Salsa Podio in my size, so they let me try that bike out for the weekend. The Podio is a scandium frame with Carbon fork. It was superlight, but I was looking for a Century bike and by Salsa’s own description, the Podio was not for me. Not to mention it was more expensive. I would’ve been very interested in the La Raza, but that bike appears to be discontinued.
So I decided on the Casseroll. Unfortunately, the Casseroll Triple was out of stock in my size, so the shop ordered a Casseroll Single, which is a different color than the triple. They changed over the parts from one to the other and now I’ve got a special Casseroll Triple. At first I wasn’t sure about the color, but it works perfectly with the Fargo. They are both weird colors, and that is fine with me.
I’ve set this bike up for some Brevets and Centuries that I hope to ride this year. Brevets require lights, so I will move my Dinottes over as needed. I’ve also added 2 Acorn Bags. The rear is the Acorn Roll Bag, and the front is the Acorn Handlebar Bag. These two bags should allow me to carry everything I need for long rides. The front bag can hold my Gorillapod, a Showers Pass jacket, cell phone, multi-tool, extra fuel and still has lots of room. The Roll Bag has a tube, patch kit, levers, pump/compressed air and the cartridges.
So far I’m very happy with the bike. I’ve only got about 100 miles on it, but it’s very comfortable. I moved the B-17 from the LHT to the Casseroll, so that helps. One thing that I miss are braze-ons for the front fork. Since I plan to use this bike for Brevets, lighting will be necessary. I would like to have a dynamo lighting system, but there are no braze-ons for a light mount. Luckily Peter White has some solutions for this.
Here are a couple pics. More to come soon.