Welcome to the first in a series of articles in which we’ll check out where our kits end up in the wild – the bikes, the setups and where the riders take them. This week’s bike-check comes from Toby in Yorkshire. Toby’s actually a Ratio tester, using Ratio components to run wide-range 11 speed on his 1x Scott road bike. This is a setup we’re still working on, as there are small differences between SRAM and Shimano cassettes. We’ll hand over to Toby:
I’m currently based up in Ilkley, Yorkshire and nowadays I am mainly a casual (or ‘leisure’…) rider. When I was at university, in the flatlands of Cambridge, I was predominantly a time trial rider, but also mixed it up with a bit of crit racing and cyclocross. I think this is my fifth year riding seriously, so I’m not a veteran and not a newbie. I ride for fun now, to meet people and to get outside into the countryside. That doesn’t stop me doing the odd 5 min effort up a climb in the Dales though… Coupled with lots of climbing and a bit of running, I try to find a good balance of sports.
Whilst still racing seriously I decided I wanted a disc brake road bike that was also slightly aero. I set up searches on eBay and Gumtree, eventually finding an almost new Scott Foil for a good price. I wanted to ride 1x as I like the simplicity and aerodynamics, plus I was testing 1×11 for Ratio early on. The bike came with a stock Ultegra groupset so I fully stripped it and sold all the components, leaving me with a frameset. Whilst selling this groupset I started to purchase the bits I wanted: some second-hand SRAM red hydraulic shifters, SRAM XX1 11-42T cassette, SRAM Force 1 rear mech and a Quarq power meter. Having used a Powertap meter in the past I needed something that would allow me to use disc brakes so I went for the Quarq as a narrow-wide SRAM chainring fits them pretty nicely. Having some friends at Hope meant I got hold of some Hope brake calipers and RD40 wheels; unbelievably nice finishing kit! The most difficult part to source was a 120mm, -17 degree stem for the 1 ¼ inch steerer. Eventually I had to fork out (pun intended? – Ed) for a brand new FSA one, all for that long and low position…
Overall the second hand components worked a dream, other than the rear shifter which was so worn the cable wouldn’t stay put in the shifter cable housing. I suspect the shifters had been used on a cross bike and had therefore seen a fair amount of wear and tear. Luckily I got a spare one from Ratio and now it’s as good as new (soon to be available as a spare – Ed). Having disc brakes is a game changer, both in terms of performance and ease of use. I don’t have to swap out my nice wheels for training wheels any more.
I recently swapped to Ratio’s wide range 1×11 kit. This means I have an Eagle GX rear mech and a Shimano Deore 11-51T cassette – on a road bike!. Having such a wide range is amazing for riding round Yorkshire. It means I can spin up most things. The shifting is crisp and really easy to maintain as there is no front derailleur to muck about with. Definitely won’t be going back to 2x any time soon. I would definitely recommend this to a friend. I always see people having issues with shifting with incorrectly setup front mechs, the 1×11 removes half the faff. Most people don’t have a small enough gear either; there’s no shame in putting it in a 44-51 and spinning up a 20% climb rather than grinding out the saddle. The only issue I’ve had is working out what cassette spacer you need for installing a MTB cassette on a road freehub. Think I’ve sorted it now, but something to be aware of.
My best rides on the bike have definitely been out on the continent. Two summers ago I went on a road trip to the Dolomites and had some amazing days out on the bike. More recently, riding around the Dordogne and Chamonix has kept me interested in getting out on my bike. On the more gritty side of things, using the Scott as a fast and light touring bike to get to a night out in Oxford was great fun. The ride back less so.
If you’d like to be featured, just drop us a message or comment below.