Keywords: cento custom paint

BOTM: cento per Cento WI.DE. - part 1

Gerard Vroomen - 25-Apr-2022
Earlier this month I showed you my own new MIN.D. and explained that it was almost the longest taking build ever. The only reason it didn't make it into the Guinness Book of World Records is that I also was trying to put together a bike for my wife Janet around the same time and that took even longer.

Lately, especially after a bad crash and some broken bones, she didn't feel too comfortable on the bike anymore. Given that even pure road riding can be a bit tricky around Amsterdam with brick roads, tram rails and crazy traffic, this is understandable. So I started thinking about how a bike can increase confidence and motivate to go riding again. I decided to build a WI.DE. for road plus riding, with bigger tires that take away any worries for bad pavement and also help you explore the unpaved treasures in the Netherlands. But given that she's small and light, weight was also a consideration.

Originally I had in mind to put road wheels with 35mm road tires on the bike. That to me is a great compromise for road plus riding, but then things got messed up a bit with deliveries. Andy mentioned he still had a set of Rene Herse Snoqualmie Pass tires kicking around. At 44mm nominal width, they are certainly road plus plus plus, but I decided to give them a try. I have to say it was a good decision. They are light, they are fast, they give the rider a ton of confidence and of course they let you blast through everything without a worry.

But back to step 1, which was the frame. There is nothing nicer than starting a new bike project with a blank slate, an RTP frame that you can do with whatever you want. I've always liked the special designs Cento Canesio has done for us, for example Andy's personal UPPER:

Plus I figured that with how Cento makes the custom design really personal, it would be a great motivator to go out and ride. I asked Cento if he would do something for Janet and luckily he said yes. He wanted to do something in color this time, so with Janet's favorite color (blue) he got to work. As usual, he also asked for a list of interests from Janet so that half the icons hidden in the artwork are his and half are related to her background. The original idea was to do silver drawings on a blue background but in the end Cento asked if he could do something different as he'd been working with some blue on blue designs. It felt strange to tell an artist what to do, so I said "do what you want" and that was that. 

Just as a side story, I sometimes get emails from people wanting to do their own Cento and they are afraid of whether it will stick or not. I think the most important part is to get the base and clear coat right. No wait, that's the second-most important thing. The most important is of course that you know how to make it look nice. The drawings may seem quite simple, but to make it all look good together on a frame and to draw it with a steady hand is really, really tough. So on the one hand, it can be nice to truly make a frame your own by doing it yourself, but on the other hand you may get much more than you could have hoped for by working together with Cento. Otherwise we wouldn't have ended up with a funky dog on the frame!

Tony Spray did a beautiful blue base coat, Cento did the artwork and then it was back to Tony for the clear coat. And then it was waiting, waiting, waiting for the components. Anyway, that will be for the next post, but first the photos to showcase the painting, which definitely scores cento per cento (100%) for me. There are some little jokes included, let's see if you can spot them:


Comments & Questions

I absolutely love the b/w Cento bike. 12/10 points.
Post #1 of 23. Posted by Xaver on 25-Apr-2022 05:51:16 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24524]
Why not go for 650B? The smaller RAM improves the handling on a smaller frame size and allows for an even more plush ride.
Post #3 of 23. Posted by Thijs on 25-Apr-2022 06:37:29 GMT in reply to post #1 [24524<--24526]
A few reasons. Firstly, I started out with 35mm for a road focused setup. Then with availability that became 44mm, and going back and changing the wheels was not something I wanted to do. Secondly, this tire is well within the appropriate range for the WIDE geometry (also in size S). The WIDE can be set up with 700c or 650b, but to be in the sweet spot for handling in 650b you need a bigger tire. I would not recommend a 650x44 or 650x47 or anything like that. That RAM would be too small, which is logical as 650x47 became popular to replace 700x28 and keep the same RAM. but also 700x28 isn't something you'd put on a WIDE. So then you go into 650x54 to get closer to the 700x35, and you have three issues in this particular use case. (1) it gets really big for the type of riding she does, (2) finding a tire that size without serious profile is harder, way fewer options there and (3) the tire gets heavier.

I'm still considering making a nice 650b setup for her actually, as normally I am drawn in that direction, but I haven't quite figured out what parts to do it with.
Post #4 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 25-Apr-2022 06:49:16 GMT in reply to post #3 [24526<--24527]
What's the RAM 'sweet spot' range for the WIDE? Especially asking for XS size. I've been running especially small RAM (650x40) - I like the low BB height and am generally fine with the handling but am interested in understanding what the recommended sweet spot is.
Post #16 of 23. Posted by David Lee on 25-Apr-2022 18:58:10 GMT in reply to post #4 [24527<--24539]
Hi David, first off, if it works for you, then who cares. It would be ridiculous for me to say "this bike has to be ridden with this or that", in the end different people like different handling behavior for their bikes based on their personal preferences or the terrain they ride. When I talk about the sweet spot, I mean the range of RAM that I design the frame for and that generates the handling we want. An additional complication for a designer is that of course he or she can only truly feel the geometry in their own frame size. So for other sizes you can design it using math and physics and feedback from riders you judge to understand handling, but it's never the same as experiencing it yourself. In this case, RAM between 350-355mm is the target for geometry, but that obviously doesn't mean 350 is fantastic and 349 is total disaster. There is a lot of variation possible.
Post #19 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Apr-2022 04:43:24 GMT in reply to post #16 [24539<--24542]
Just to add though, and the reason I'm still thinking about 650b, the Snoqualmie is at the upper range of the advisable RAM, so while I'm not concerned about the handling, I would prefer to sit a little lower in the RAM range for standover reasons.
Post #6 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 25-Apr-2022 06:51:48 GMT in reply to post #3 [24526<--24529]
Thank you for explaining Gerard. The Conti SpeedKing RaceSport comes in 650b55 but isn't tubeless compatible. The Schwalbe G-One speed 650b60 is not in production anymore and from experience, having 55+ mm slick tires on a drop bar bike can become a bit problematic on solid surfaces; you simply have too much grip. Probably one of the reasons why RH isn't making a 650b55 slick?
Post #8 of 23. Posted by Thijs on 25-Apr-2022 07:10:44 GMT in reply to post #6 [24529<--24531]
A few years ago Andy and I voted the G-One Speed 27.5x2.35" the worst tire ever. And we love almost everything Schwalbe makes! I don't think there is an inherent problem with a big slick (and the Speed isn't really a slick either, with those micro knobs), other than that demand is way less because with that size, people tend to want to do more serious off-road. So it becomes hard to justify.
Post #9 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 25-Apr-2022 07:18:34 GMT in reply to post #8 [24531<--24532]
The blue one is spectacular too. Great build. Snoqualmie extralights are my goto road tire. I compared them to 28mm ProOne and 35 BonJOn and they were not slower on tarmac. Offroad they are way faster and comfortable.
Post #7 of 23. Posted by Xaver on 25-Apr-2022 06:59:02 GMT in reply to post #1 [24524<--24530]
Great job from all involved, thanks for the post, Gerard! Having lived through a similar experience - severe crash which took me several months to recover from (enough time to think about a new bike) - I can confirm the appeal of wide tires on a fast bike while trying to make it back. The René Herse Barlow Pass Extralight 38mm tires measure 42mm wide on BEAST GR40 rims (25mm internal width). Just enough clearance left (showcased her: https://opencyc...jpg). The ride is super smooth yet fast to keep up on group rides. Campagnolo Ekar is a fitting groupset for this lovely bike.
Post #2 of 23. Posted by David Best on 25-Apr-2022 06:28:07 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24525]
Hi David, thanks for your insight, glad to hear you're back on the bike. The Barlow pass would have been more than enough for her too, and helped a little with standover height compared to the Snoqualmie, but that's what andy had!
Post #5 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 25-Apr-2022 06:50:38 GMT in reply to post #2 [24525<--24528]
I definitely agree on running the Barlow Pass EL, though the Snoqualmie is actually 20g lighter per tire. I can't fit the Snoqualmie on my U.P., but I don't feel like I'm missing out running the Barlow's on the HED GA Pro Silvers with their 25mm internal.
Post #15 of 23. Posted by Wesley on 25-Apr-2022 15:11:05 GMT in reply to post #2 [24525<--24538]
Depending on the terrain you may indeed not miss anything. As mentioned, I was also initially looking for something more narrow but then Andy had these lying around.
Post #20 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Apr-2022 04:45:55 GMT in reply to post #15 [24538<--24543]
I can’t believe how easily people are sold on industry hype, pure marketing drivel, and absolute nonsense like the Rene Herse Barlow Pass tires. They are silly expensive, boat anchors for regular road use (even the extra lights are a boat anchor for a road tire), they’re not a fast tire - sorry they’re not, and they have no meaningful tread at all for doing anything that is even remotely serious on gravel/off-road type riding. They have zero grip or bite on even the mildest loose dirt or loose gravel bedding one often encounters on any dry gravel ride (and completely forget about them regarding handling if there is even a hint of moisture present on a gravel ride ??).

But people have always been easily lead by “trends”, hype, and marketing nonsense. I guess it’s a “great” tire if you’re looking for - high cost, slow, and no meaningful off-road grip on even mild stuff in dry or wet conditions. LOL ??
Post #10 of 23. Posted by Joe T on 25-Apr-2022 09:05:44 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24533]
Your argument might be stronger with some more facts and less emotion, especially when you rage against hype and drivel. And to be clear, there isn't even a Barlow Pass on this bike. But which effectively 40mm wide road tire is so much lighter that that Barlow Pass is a "boat anchor"? Of course it's a lot heavier than a standard 23mm road tire, but that goes for any oversized road tire. if you see that a Continental GP 5000 S TR is 304g (my scale) for 700x32c (fits more like 34mm), then the 358g that I weighed for the 38mm Barlow (fits more like 40mm) is not heavy at all and certainly no boat anchor.

Whether the Barlow is fast or not I couldn't tell you, they went on somebody else's bike. When I say the Snoqualmie is fast, what I mean is that it is a fast option among 40mm tires, so a great way to get that extra confidence on tarmac without getting slowed down too much by knobs and the like. As for grip, that all depends on the terrain. In the wet, obviously off-road becomes a problem quickly without a lot of tread. But in many harder packed and drier conditions, tread is not needed and such a tire can be a great compromise for a bike that spends lots of time on and off road.

As for overpriced, the Barlow Pass Extralight is $90, the aforementioned Continental is $95. I think both are expensive, but they both are also very good at what they need to do. Of course you can now claim that the 5000 S TR is also a terrible tire, but be my guest. I'll grant you that for that money, Continental puts some more sophisticated materials and construction in its tire, but they also have the advantage of much bigger volume for its production. So all in all both prices are well-defendable. You can save some money going to a WTB Exposure for $66, similar in weight but a little narrower.
Post #11 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 25-Apr-2022 10:25:38 GMT in reply to post #10 [24533<--24534]
I love my WI.DE…purchased remotely from Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake City, and they have fantastic customer service. I put on Enve AG25 wheels, and they’re fantastic for that price point. I’m currently riding Maxxis Rambler 44mm, and they are very fast on the roads despite their more robust profile…they roll very well. I’ve also ridden the Maxxis Receptor in 40mm, and they’re great on the WI.DE as well…two very different tire profiles….common denominator? Maybe the WI.DE is just a great ride regardless of the tire?! The WI.DE using either tire is super fast and controlled on the road and gravel descents, and it is a very comfortable ride!
Post #12 of 23. Posted by Jeff Christensen on 25-Apr-2022 11:13:07 GMT in reply to post #11 [24534<--24535]
By comparison, my other bike is an s-works tarmac sl6. The WI.DE requires a little earlier set-up for tighter corners on the descents, but it is just as fun and fast through the corners…a very very nimble bike.
Post #13 of 23. Posted by Jeff Christensen on 25-Apr-2022 11:17:53 GMT in reply to post #12 [24535<--24536]
totally agree. The hype around Rene Herse tires is odd to me. I destroyed a pair in 2 days. They were super squishy until I put like 60psi in them. The tread wasn't great on gravel (had the knobby ones). They couldn't stand up to large rough gravel at all, sliced the first tire on day one and the second 4 days later. As long as Jan keeps telling everyone how great they are I guess they'll remain popular. My feeling is that folks who like them rarely push the bike to it's limits or are very light weight people. Either way, give me a durable casing over these over priced tires any day. I got 8 months out of Terravails with no flats. beat that Jan!
Post #14 of 23. Posted by Johnston, James M on 25-Apr-2022 14:17:47 GMT in reply to post #10 [24533<--24537]
Well, I think you're talking of pretty much the opposite use case of what this bike was for. She is light, riding road plus.
Post #18 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Apr-2022 04:26:43 GMT in reply to post #14 [24537<--24541]
Just wow! That paint job is sensational! The whole bike is aesthetically so very pleasing. Fantastic reason to get out and ride again, anywhere, anytime.
Post #17 of 23. Posted by Bruce Dell on 26-Apr-2022 01:40:06 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24540]
Hello Gerard,
I was thinking of doing a similar job to my Blue Wi.De. and use a marker to make it more personal. (I think a bright pink would look great, but I don't want to add too many colors since there are those details around the headset)
I don't know if I would love it in the long run. Do you know if any types of markers could be used and could be erased if I get tired of them? (obviously without damaging the bike)
I would like to have it for a little while and then do a more definitive job if I decide to keep it. But if I get tired, I wipe it clean.
Is there any brand/type of markers that would work better?
If you do not have an answer, do you know who I should ask?
Thank you for your time.
Post #21 of 23. Posted by Marco on 28-Apr-2022 10:26:37 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24545]
hi Marco, I would presume you can use a whiteboard marker and wipe it off immediately if you don't like it. But if your idea is to leave it for a few months and then wipe it off, then you need something more durable. Not sure if that really exists. You might have to give it a try and if you don't like it in the end, go for a repaint (also nice to change to a different color at that point). I think if it works, you won't get tired of it. At least Janet isn't and neither am I and since she's decided my office is the perfect parking spot for this bike, you'd think I would get tired of it looking at it every day.
Post #22 of 23. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 30-Apr-2022 08:46:40 GMT in reply to post #21 [24545<--24550]
I love RH gravel tires but not so sure about running Snoqualmie Passes as a dedicated road tire. I rode that same width + casing on my WIDE for about 9 months. The comfort was a bit better than my 32mm road tires but not by much. What was surprising is how little wear I experienced - the ridges on the rear tire looked almost new after months of riding. Ted King's look almost new after 200 miles of Kansas gravel:

year ago, for reasons I still don't understand, my front wheel washed on a paved corner and I went down hard (broken clavicle, scapula + concussion.) Maybe some localized fog had affected the pavement? A touch of gravel? It's a road I ride several times a week and I'm still baffled.

F1 cars and typically Pro Tour road tires are super soft and wear pretty quickly. After the crash, I switched back to the biggest Schwalbe Pro Ones i could find. If I'm racing some fast gravel, I will definitely give the Snoqualmie Passes another go but not as a daily driver on the road. My $.02.
Post #23 of 23. Posted by Brian Biggs on 10-May-2022 20:33:35 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24554]