|Narrower handlebars, and gone are the interrupter brake levers.|
For starters, I wanted to upgrade the Tektro Mira disc brakes to TRP Spyres, which feature a dual pad actuation. I found a reasonably priced set on eBay and purchased them. When time came for installation I decided to get rid of the interrupter brake levers on the handlebars. I never really used them and they seemed to clutter up the cockpit. At the same time, I replaced the original, very wide bars, (46cm), with a narrower set, (42cm). The narrower bar felt more comfortable to me. The advantages of wider bars are primarily for off road use, I haven't found them that beneficial for my more sedate gravel road travels.
|Tektro TRP Spyre road discs with 160mm rotors front and back.|
The biggest change was the wheelset. I liked having the wider Conti Speed Rides, (advertised 42mm wide but actually 39mm wide, but felt that with a 700c tire, the 39mm width was really getting too close to the bike's chainstays. The solution was to switch to 650B. The reduced diameter of these wheels allows you to fit a wider tire.
I found a really inexpensive set of 650B disc wheels on Amazon. In fact the set I got was a returned set so I saved quite a bit. This was an experiment anyway, so I'm not concerned if the wheels don't last forever.
Actually, when I received them, I was pleasantly surprised by their quality. While by no means a pro level wheel, the quality of the hubs seem very close to what came on the Felt. I did add some grease and adjust the bearings and tightened the spokes and trued the wheels, so they should hold up for a while.
For tires, I selected some Panaracer Gravel Kings, sized 650X 1.75. These seem like very nice tires, they cost as much as the wheels did! After mounting, I was a little disappointed that they only measured a true 40mm wide, about 1.6 inches, quite a bit less than I was hoping, but still a little wider than the Conti's. Plus, of course, there's now a fair bit of space between the tire and the chainstay. Next time though, I'll try the 1.9" tire, if it measures a true 44mm wide or so, I think it will fit.
|650B wheels with 1.75" Panaracer Gravel King tires.|
|Ample clearance for the 650X42 tire. (Actual width 40mm).|
|The older Ritchey seatpost provided a setback which improved my position on the bike.|
|After a test ride, not sure about that handlebar bag yet!|