Archive for December, 2010

Oh, it’s here…

Right, then…

Christmas came and went and I’m staring New Years in the face.  But enough of that:  I have a new bike.  The first new bike I’ve had in 18 years.

Shiny New Toy

Oh, dig me!  So, the specs:

2011 Raleigh Record Ace

Lugged 520 Reynolds Frame

Primarily Ultegra gruppo (cassette, front and rear derailleurs and brifters).  Swapped out the original Ultegra chainring with Sora.  Now, I know that might be blasphemous in some circles, but here was the problem:  The Ultegra chainrain was 53/39 – obviously this was spec’ed out for folks that live in areas that are either a) flat or b) slightly downhill.  As mentioned before, I had the Sora unit (50/34) on the Dawes before I swapped it out for the Sugino triple chainring.  A quick test-ride showed that it works just fine with the rest of the gear.  Brakes are 105 and…well, they stop the bike nicely; not sure what else they’re supposed to do.  I had Shimano R540 clipless pedals installed (did not like the toe clips that were originally on the bike).

Surprisingly, the Brooks Swallow seat is somewhat comfortable.  I figured it would be painful – it certainly looks so.

I did a non-scientific weight test against the roommates aluminum Giant OCR-1; mine is slightly heavier by a pound or so, I’d say.  Overall, I’d say the rig weighs in at about 20 to 21 lbs.

Tomorrow the roommate and I are going on a short (~20 mile) shakedown ride to see how well it works.  Then I go from there…

Going to be a lot of fun, I think…

Categories: Uncategorized

Finally pulled the trigger

Right, then…

After long last, the stars and – more importantly, the dollars – aligned.  Today, I put a deposit down on a 2011 Raleigh Record Ace.

This was not a decision that I came to easily.  First off, there was the back and forth of even getting something else in the first place.  Did I really need this?  Why isn’t the bike I already have good enough?  What will be different?  Then, once the decision to get something else was made, I went between buying new or buying an old bike or frame from Craigslist or eBay and refurbishing it.  Once the buy new decision was made, then it got really hard:  Which one?

Oh, the agony.  The downside to the internet is that it provides so many options.  The original plan was to get a Grand Prix – essentially the same frame as the Record Ace, but with Tiagra components.  Then there was the Revenio 3.0 – 105 but aluminum frame.  Then of course, the Record Ace.  Or the Masi Grand Criterium (better pedigree, but 105 components).  Finally there was the Salsa Pistola – better frame material and equal components, but funky geometry.

Of course, each decision was made and unmade several, painful, times.  Even as I walked in to WGB today, I was bouncing between the Record Ace and the Pistola, when Tahn suggested the Orbea Onix (one of the few carbon fiber frames he’d bother suggesting).  Then we threw the Masi back into the mix, again.

Conversation narrowed it down to the Masi and the Raleigh.  The Raleigh had a better gruppo (Ultegra) than the Masi.  1 point for Raleigh.  The Masi had a good gruppo (105), but better wheels, seat post, stem and handlebars.  Point to Masi.  The Raleigh wheels had more spokes, meaning they can take more weight and torque; point to Raleigh.  The Masi came from the factory with a more real-world crankset (50/34), while the Raleigh had a 53/39, which is way too tall for Bay Area Hills; point to Masi.  The Masi had a more aggressive rider position than the Raleigh, but it would be cheaper to change the stem and steerer on the Masi than to upgrade the cranks on the Raleigh; point goes to Masi.  It was about locked up, until I remembered something:  Earlier this year, I had Tahn take a 50/34 Sora crank off of the Dawes and replace it with a Sugino triple.  The Sora crank, while a bit heavier than the Ultegra, would work just fine with the rest of the Ultegra bits.

The decision was almost made:  It got down to measurements.  In the smaller sizes, the Raleigh comes in odd sizes; the Masi in even.  Measuring pubic bone height, I required a bike with 54.6cm frame.  Masi did something inexplicable – their frames went from 53 cm (too small) to 56 cm (too large).  Raleigh had a 55cm frame.

Game, set and match goes to the Raleigh.

I put down 50% deposit today.  It should be in within 1.5 weeks, or so for Tahn to build it up.  In the meantime, I’ll drop off the Sora cranks so he can install those during the build.

I haven’t had a new bike for Christmas in 30 years, I think (although, this is more of a Christmas/Birthday gift to myself).

While this is, in fact, a completely irrational purchase, I see it as such:  I figure I have a good 35 years left of cycling, barring any nasty diseases.  That works out to just under $60/year I’ll be paying for this bike.  Not a bad deal.  Further, there’s no reason why it should not last – it’s steel, like the Dawes, and that’s 40 years old.

I’m looking forward to this!

In other news, I’m back in my groove again, I think.  Back running, back riding.  Now, time permitting, I’ve been doing long rides – typically 40 miles or so.  Since Thanksgiving, I’ve lost 10 lbs (funny what eating better, not drinking and exercise can do, right?).

Also, I’ve finally pick up a beater/foul weather/ride to the bar/leave it locked up at the Caltrain station all day bike.  Actually, I re-acquired it.  It was the only new bike I’ve ever bought – something called a Biscayne Lazer mountain bike that I bought from The Off Ramp in 1992 for a trip up to Sonora.  I probably put about 100 miles on it, and there it sat.  So far, I’ve added lights, fenders and a rack for functionality purposes.  I’m going to convert it to a single speed as the shifters were gummed up.  Right now, I have it okie engineered as a single speed (shifters have been removed – I have  the rear shift cable pulled taught to keep the derailleur in place and wrapped around the chainstay.  Today, I bought the tools and supplies to make it a proper single speed.  So that should be a fun project.

The purpose of this was twofold:  One, I did not like leaving the good mountain bike or the Dawes sitting unattended for hours on end at Caltrain; now I can leave this bike and if someone steals it, I’m not out a lot of money.  Secondly, I want to start my own wrenching.  I have no problem giving my money to Dick and Tahn, but I don’t like the feeling that the bike is just a mechanical black hole.  It makes me feel sort of…limp.  What’s cool is that after the conversion is done, I can use the tools for other forms of maintenance.

Good times.