Tuesday 10 September 2013, in Cycling
Here she is, home at last! Ready for some bike geekery?
Handlebars: the shop put on a 42cm deda elementi RHM 02 with deda “white carbon” tape (washable, it really is nice compared to porous tapes). The bar is in a double-butted 6061 alloy (aluminum, magnesium and silicone). For size comparison, these bars come in 42, 44, and 46 centimetres. The difference was clear when I got on my bike with the 42cm bars today. There’s no way the original 46cm bars shipped by BH would have been comfortable for my shoulder width.
Stem: the shop also changed this out since I have shorter arms, for a 90mm deda elementi Zero1, another 6061 alloy. For an idea of scale/comparison, this stem comes in multiples of 10 millimetres, from 60 to 130 mm. I also felt the difference here, in my back and arms when in the drops. It felt “right” as opposed to slightly too stretched out.
Saddle: San Marco Ponza Power, which wasn’t listed on BH’s specs for the 2014 model, but the Ponza was used on their 2013 model. In any case, the listed San Marco Era and the Ponza are closely related. As far as I’ve been able to tell while stationary, it supports my sit bones comfortably, that’s what matters. Indeed, you may have noticed that sporty bikes have what look like tiny, hard saddles, as opposed to the larger, softer ones you can see on city bikes. When you ride for longer distances, and are riding physically, you really want a solid saddle that supports your sit bones. It makes a huge difference. They do take time to get used to; I can relate to Sheldon Brown’s article on saddles because I also get a sore bottom when I’ve stopped cycling for too long. It gets better in just a few rides!
Everything else is to spec with BH’s description:
Gruppo: Shimano 105 except the crankset, an FSA Omega compact double (50/34), and the front derailleur and cassette, which are Tiagra. The cassette is an 11/25.
Wheels: Shimano WHR501, which are 28″ aluminum.
Pedals: The Shimano A600 that are SPD compatible, as I mentioned in my last post.
Brakes: BH RC481, they’re single-pivot side-pull caliper rim brakes. The guy at the shop showed me how they work, they have a rather ingenious release system, although I’m kind of puzzled why since caliper brakes are easy to release. Normally you just pinch them at the corners. These BH brakes have a little plastic lever (attached to metal) that you flip, that essentially does the pinch for you. It is a bit more reliable that way, just hope the lever holds up over time.
The biggest change for me will be shifting! My mountain bike has thumb shifters, meaning you press a lever on the handlebar with your thumb to shift up, and flick a lever down with your index finger to shift down. All the road bikes I’ve ridden in my life have, funnily enough, had downtube lever shifters, e.g. ones like this:
Even a few years ago when a friend let me borrow his road bike, it had downtube lever shifters. As a result, I have never ridden with modern road bike shifters, which function quite differently: the brake lever is also the shifter. To brake, you pull it in towards you (front towards back). To shift down, you push the brake handle sideways, towards the center of the bike. To shift up, there are smaller plastic levers under (and sort of inside) the brake lever that you also flick inside, with a finger.
Why haven’t I ridden yet?? First, it was rush hour when I got my bike, and is now dark out. Second, while I had planned to ride tomorrow morning, the plumber got back to me and will come tomorrow morning (normally) to remove the cable auger he got stuck in my pipes. This thanks to my insurance expert, who is also a legal expert in building issues: he told me in no uncertain terms that it was the original plumber’s responsibility to get his stuck cable out of my walls, and restore my place to the state it was in before that work. At his expense. (This is not the trusted plumber I usually call, but one our building management had during their August holidays.) I’m just hoping it will go smoothly. With any luck, I’ll have working pipes in my kitchen tomorrow.