Tale of two rando bikes

After my brief flirtation with a bigger tire on my Hilsen, I’m back to the real original version.  Jack Brown 33.3s.  They actually measure just under 34mm, so only 3 or 4 mm smaller than the Barlows.  Who knew!  They feel great, and I don’t have as much toe overlap with this setup.


I noticed how much this bike is like the “new” rando I’ve been taking on the longer rides this year.  Slightly different geometry on the frames, different tire size, but really close to the same measurements at the body contact points.  Here are two side by sides:

A. Homer Hilsen


Velo Routier


I’m using the same seat, bars, and cranks.  Pedals will soon be the same if I can make up my mind on the clipless of choice.  There is one main difference I could feel today on my ride home.  The bars on the Hilsen are 2cm above seat height.  On the Routier, they are only  1cm above the seat.  This was changed as soon as i got home as I’ve been plenty comfortable on the Routier this season, and the Hilsen actually felt a bit odd – like I was riding a “comfort” setting.  It was not feeling quite the same in the power output.  With the bars dropped, and a test ride to confirm, I now have a spare rando bike (it was actually the original brevet bike and did just fine for the past two seasons).


Now I just need to get the time to actually devote a day to a ride!


3 thoughts on “Tale of two rando bikes

  1. I was interested to see that you rejected your wider Compass tires on your 700c machine. I wonder if, for road and rando applications, you really need a smaller diameter wheel to run fatter tires to get similar performance. I too have found that I prefer narrower (32s) on my 700 c equipped bikes. The ride is comfortable and fast but you can still maneuver well off road. The hammered fenders look great!

  2. I concur that Jack Brown Greens provide less toe overlap and a better feeling ride than fatter tires (700×38 C) I’ve used on my 700C Ocean Air Rambler. After having used two different 700×38 tires on the bike, I’m thinking that the ideal tire size for my 700C riding is the Jack’s at 33.3, and failing those, no fatter than 35 C.
    I’ve got plenty of cush with these; I don’t feel it necessary to go any larger. Indeed, I don’t think they add to the ride quality at all. If I were purely riding off road, I might go the fatter tires, but for mixed surface rides, 33.3 is the way to go for me.

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