test spin on a Surly Pacer after deciding that I really wanted a lighter road bike for rides when I don't need to carry anything and I'm going out simply for exercise or general riding purposes. I'm never one to focus necessarily on speed, and I enjoyed the Pacer test ride, so it seemed like a logical choice. After the test ride, I found that I just couldn't get it out of my head. It felt quite speedy in comparison to the approximate 40 pounds I typically haul on the Hillborne, and actually reminded me of the good feelings I had when riding the hooptie bicycle from last summer. It's still not a "light bike" by roadie standards (in its current form, it weighs in at 23 lbs, without carrying an extra tube, tool, etc), and rest assured that I still fall far behind when climbing (I'm soooo not a climber!), but the fact that it feels lighter seems to help, at least somewhat, with fatigue on longer rides.
Not allowing me to give up on this idea, Sam suggested that we continue to tweak some things. The first item to be changed was the handlebar stem. Most of my issues with bicycles (that aren't easily resolved anyway) tend to have something to do with the handlebars (the type of bar, the height, angle, etc). We swapped out the stem from Sam's Surly LHT with the stem on the Pacer, which brought the handlebars up and closer to me so that there wasn't quite the strain on my hands. It may sound as though I purchased a frame that is too large, but in reality the smaller size is simply too small for me, causing constant strikes from my knee to the handlebars, and making me to feel like a big bear riding a much too small bicycle in a circus.
|Standard Surly Pacer stem (apologies for the fuzzy photo) versus the replacement with the Surly LHT stem|
Post Script: I just wanted to say that in no way would I want anyone to be under the impression that the Surly Pacer is an uncomfortable bicycle. For most people, I'm certain they would find it to be a joy to ride as it is built. However, I have damage to my hands and wrists which prevents me (try as I might to deny it) from using certain set ups on a bike. This is a constant struggle for me, so learning what works and what doesn't is often a very trial and error process - sometimes with me making the same choices more than once, hoping for different results (that is the definition of insanity, right?). As with most things in life, your results would likely vary from mine. If you're looking for additional info, there is an update that can be found here.