Thursday, November 23, 2023

Ride review (and introducing Idris)

It was probably an ideal day to take the new Priority Continuum (I have named it Idris) to the office. Drizzly, a little above freezing, with balls of slushy snow in the bike lanes. The sort of thing I imagine this bike was designed for. 

I ride about 20km round trip to the office building I work in. Plenty of time to get used to a new bike. So, first impressions.

First, that big internal gear hub does make the back end heavy. At some spots, like intersections, where I might have stopped, put feet down, and then just swung the bike under me to a new direction, I couldn't easily do that. The bike itself is not light; it's something like 40 pounds. I felt that a little bit on hills, but I don't mind the extra legwork. And the weight does make it feel sturdy. I'm interested in how that heavy back wheel performs in winter with studded tires (I'm getting a set this weekend). 

One odd thing about it is that it's so quiet. There's no chain; there's no derailleur; the gearshift is a barrel shifter with no separate gears to cycle through; there's no clicking.  I think even when you're coasting, there isn't that little tiktiktik noise from the freewheel. It's just silent.

I'm still getting used to the shifting, I think. Because there aren't discrete gears, you just sort of ease the resistance back and forth to where you're comfortable. Your indicator, instead of numbered gears, is a little dude on a bike on a hill. The hill gets gradually steeper as you shift into lower gears. I admit to being kind of charmed any time I had to climb a steepish hill and shifted the little bonhomme till he was practically aiming for the sky.

It seems counterintuitive to me that you twist the barrel forward to go into lower gears and backward to shift back up - but my last couple of bikes had paddle shifters, so I might just be out of practice with barrels. I kept accidentally shifting the wrong direction. But again, because you just flow between "gears" it didn't do a bunch of mechanical clicking and jumping from cog to cog.

It was rainy and dark enough that I left the office ahead of twilight: people drive like morons in this town when the weather's bad, and I didn't want the temperature to fall and lay down ice on the roads - I don't have the studs on yet. So I didn't really get to see how bright the lights are for night riding. I expect I'll want to have a separate headlamp if I'm going to be on unlit paths or streets at night, but it really is nice to know that I'm lit up front and back no matter what. 

(Update, added later: the front headlight is actually plenty good enough to see by on an unlit path, in the rain. Hurrah!)

I'm slowly amassing the accessories that were stolen along with the Trek - the mount for my Fly12 camera, the bell, the trailer hitch. They've been ordered, and I'll start decking the bike out with them as they come in. 

So. . . so far, Idris and I seem to be getting along just fine. Looking forward to seeing what happens with studs and snow.

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