Need bigger discs

Taiwan - Taroko Gorge National Park

photo from Cyclelicious’ flickr

One of the less logical bikes in my stable is my custom titanium Davidson BMX frame with S&S couplings, 9sp rear drivetrain and disc brake. In 2009 I took this bike to Interbike and then straight to Taiwan. I rode Yamingshan mtn and Taroko Gorge (photo above), among other things. Recently I’ve been thinking about BMX since the bike handling in cyclocross in some ways is more similar to BMX than it is to road cycling. My obsession with cross brakes kinda spilled over to my BMX bike. I was running a 140mm rotor with a Shimano cable disc caliper, and up until now that seemed to have all the power I needed. But on a whim, I installed a M960 160mm rotor (bought it for $3 at the last bike swap) and the appropriate ISO adapter. Now… much better. The main improvement is much better modulation when using the brake to initiate breaking the rear end loose entering into a turn. Of course, these sideslip turning technique experiments are entirely inside the bike shop, and the floor of the frameshop shows the evolution of my turning technique in the form of dozens of curved black skids around one of the vise stands.

Once I finish out the Seattle Cyclocross series (2 more races), I’m going to take my BMX bike to actually ride outdoors…..after cross season because crashing on the BMX is virtually guaranteed. I want to limit my injuries for the time being, and I haven’t quite regained full use of my left hand since crashing at the Enumclaw cross event. As it is, I’m tempting fate indoors because that vice stand is mounted on a steel pole bolted into the floor. I’d rather crash into a tree than hit the vise stand.


But doesn’t BMX mean “small wheels”, and won’t they be less efficient over most of the terrain?

(Does BMX not mean what I thinks in terms of the hardware?)

I mean “BMX” in the sense that my bike has true, modern BMX racing geometry, but unlike a regular BMX bike it has a rear derailleur and a disc brake.  check the link in the entry’s first paragraph to get more details.

BMX means “bicycle motocross”, the origins and evolution of which are fascinating but far beyond what i can answer here.  suffix to say that while BMX bikes are generally associated with small wheels, they hold a set of characteristics that define them apart from small-wheeled bikes such as many folding bikes (e.g. Dahon) or what are sometimes called “mini velo” bicycles. 

Wouldn’t small wheels be less efficient over most terrain? most people would say yes, but in the case of my bike the rider position and geometry arguably hamper efficiency more than theoretical rolling resistance….assuming we are talking about straight-line cruise speed.

In any case, efficiency is hardly my goal in riding this bike.  rather the goal is to have fun sharpening my bike handling skills, the bike’s perceived inappropriateness for many uses being part of its charm.

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