i've always had dreams of being so far ahead of the curve that i'm barely visible on the horizon. by this i do not refer to my athletic prowess, but a mythical desire to feature subjects that either no-one else has even heard of, or at a time of year when everyone else is looking the other way. achieving such an objective, to be honest, has mostly seemed as far away as the horizon i mentioned earlier, predominantly because i'm definitely not the most organised of individuals. just ask mrs washingmachinepost.
but once in a blue moon, and to be honest i cannot attach any forethought to this happenstance, the planets accidentally align, and i find the curve has cycled all the way over to meet me.
during cyclocross season it seems prudent at the very least, to feature cyclocross related items; such as a bicycle. having owned an ibis hakkalugi for a number of years, i thought 'twould be something of a wizard wheeze to ask my friends at edinburgh's 2pure if they'd be happy to lend me the latest disc brake version of the same bicycle. at this particular point, the planets were scarcely speaking to each other, for delivery of the 2pure review fleet was not expected until mid-january.
however, the event that brought the planets a lot closer to conversation was my good friend james mccallum having taken delivery, as part of a sponsorship deal, of the very bicycle i had hoped to review. what if i asked him nicely to scuttle about on it in a speedier and more skillful manner than i, then tell me about it? as this seemed like the ideal solution, that is precisely what i did.
i can see from the restless movements at the back, that several of you are wondering how on earth this brings me in ahead of the curve? well, somewhere on twitter today i read that the final professional cyclocross race of the year takes place this very weekend. the very point at which you'd think it almost foolish to review a cyclocross bike some seven months before even cross vegas will light up a darkened evening. which is all part of my cunning plan that i will now hold up as part of a pre-planned strategy.
confident that you all have the ability to flick back through the archives and read my original review in october 2010, jimmy's hakkalugi review concentrates more on the difference between the original and the new.
the carbon fibre frame is finished in a tasty matt black with lime green detailing, including the ibis name on the down tube. it still, however, features the lion of flanders on the seat tube, a factor that confers inestimable prowess upon whomsoever's bum is planted upon the saddle. the finishing kit incorporates ibis branded 42cm alloy drop bars, a 100mm alloy ibis stem and a similarly branded seat pin.
unlike my own hakkalugi, the full-carbon cx fork was supplied by enve, matched to a 1.5" tapered integrated headset. the bottom bracket also departed from the standard threaded version on my own frame, supplanted by a bb86 press-fit version. the hydraulic brakes are handled by subtly altered sti units mounted to a 140mm post at front and rear
though the principal concern of any review, including this one, is the frame itself, to coin a well worn cliche, it ain't going nowhere without wheels and componentry. gearing and braking are both supplied via shimano's ultegra hydro group: eleven speed gearing with (unusually) a 50/34 chainset matched to an 11-28 cassette fixed to a stans no tubes ztr ironcross rims, with 32 spokes laced to speed tuned hubs. jimmy's choice of tyres are also from the 2pure stable; 33mm clement pdx cross for off-road use, but swapped for clement strada lgg 28mm for road use. so far, so ginger peachy, but what's it like to ride?
"At first glance the frame looks very similar to the original Trek OCLV frame sets of yesteryear. I really liked that from an aesthetics point of view.
"Stiffness and control are the two words that popped in to my head. This comes not only from the frame, but the extra beefy and sexy looking Enve CX disc fork. This allowed all the feedback from the front wheel to get to my hands, creating a very predictably handing bike. Stiffness at the other end of the bike was excellent and allowed a nice mix of power transference from the pedals and compliance for the bumps. This gave a very comfortable ride with the added benefit of feeling like a top end road bike when you wanted to step on it.
"The one thing I loved about this bike was pretty obvious. The Hydro disc brakes that come from Shimano's Ultegra range. At first glance the levers didn't give away very much, but on closer inspection you do notice a slightly bulkier fit in your hand. However Shimano have managed to conceal the hydro reservoir in the lever way better than SRAM. Therefore there isn't an overly obvious knuckle.
"An added advantage was stress free, one-finger braking and no forearm pumping due to feeling that you needed to have a full hand of white knuckles to stop.
"I liked that.
"Braking performance was outstanding, thanks to the very progressive modulation, compared to the on/off sensation you would get from either a cable-to-hydro convertor or a cable disc brake system.
"I have now used the Hakkalugi as my one and only bike over the last three to four months. Though mostly using the bike off-road, after a quick change of tyres, it feels very competent as a road bike as well. So much so i'm planning on using it to compete in the Paris-Roubaix sportive in April."
"I'm 100% sold on disc brakes. They are both predictable and very reliable. An added advantage is that you don't wear out a set of rims due to road salt etc., chopping away at the wheels' braking surface. If it was allowed, I would definitely road race this bike. Just drop in some nice 30-50 mm carbons on some nice tubulars and I'd be all set."
however, jimmy and i both mourn the disappearance of the fist-shaped rear brake cable stop, now rendered superfluous by the hydraulics.
as september hauls into view, and it's time to think about a new 'cross bike for the 2015/16 season, apart from heartily congratulating yours truly for my perspicacity and temerity in bringing such a desirable and effective bicycle to your attention so early in the year, the next time you see mr mccallum hurtling in your direction, remember to say thank you.
it's the gentlemanly or ladylike thing to do.
(very many thanks to the king of scotland for his invaluable assistance with this feature.)
saturday 21 february 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................