2009/04/02

New stuff for 09



After the scariest April 1st I ever experienced, I decided I prefer human powered two-wheelers. So a burning Ducati in a ditch and a shady deal in a dark alley later and all my bikes are back. They are not the only things to be back though: spring, longer days, warmer air and the occasional cyclists that ride against the traffic are here and they all remind us that cycling's true season is just around the corner. The time is perfect for the yearly upgrades and pre-season maintenance on the bikes. I'll try not to get any other bikes this year but the Scalpel is being treated to a few upgrades, just a few tweaks to hopefully make an incredibly good bike a tad better.



I already installed a new saddle over the winter but it's a very minor change. I went from a black Selle Italia SLR XC to a white SLR XC Gel Flow. The Gel Flow version has a bit thicker gel padding and a hole in the middle so weight is the same. The reason for that upgrade was that my butt loves the SLR saddle and I wanted another one for my cross bike and found the white Gel Flow at a great price. Since the white didn't match my cross bike but looks pretty nice on the Scalpel, I put the black one from last year on the cross bike so everything looks nice and my butt is happy on both bikes.



I have also a race wheelset that I actually got last summer but not in time for my last race so it's still in it's boxes. They're super light Notubes Race 7000 wheels (subtly branded as Cannondale, Notubes decals and graphics look very cheap) that make Crossmax SLR feel like anchors. Combined with the use of regular tires instead of UST, it makes a wheelset that's a whopping 720 grams lighter, that's more than 1.5 lbs of rotating weight. These will only be used for racing since they are probably not as bombproof as the Mavic wheels with UST tires.



Both wheelsets will be fitted with lighter brake rotors too, the new Formula R1 with red alloy carriers will match the Notubes wheels red nipples and the Mavic red hubs and spokes... along with the multiple red anodized parts throughout the bike on the crankset, shock and Lefty rebound knobs... Color matching is nice but it's only a bonus, the braking duties will be handled by the Formula R1 brakes. Pretty impressive brakes, very light, nicely designed and hopefully, great performance to match. I have only good things to say about Formula brakes so far, hopefully, their new XC model keeps the trend of excellence going. I started to install them this past weekend, the hoses are more fexible than the way too stiff ones of the Puros and the rear brake install and alignement went fast and easy. The front one was a little bit more tricky. I'm not sure if it's an out of specs IS adaptor or if the pads are not in right but the inside pad hits the rotor's rivets... Very odd as everything is stock Formula. I put some shims between the adaptor and the caliper and it seems to have done the trick but I have yet to fine tune the alignement, I'll look into it more this week when I have some time to do so.



New BB30 bearings will also be installed soon, I'm trying the Enduro Ceramics, hoping they will be durable. While the cranks are off, I'll also be switching the Hollowgram SL spider. Right now I have a very old and slightly crooked triple 5-bolt spider, I'll put a current double one that will reduce the chainline by a microscopic amount, the big chainring will now sit very close to the chainstay but it should make the whole cassette usable when on the big ring even better with the narrow crank spindle.



The last upgrade will make a few fellow blogging cyclists smile: a pair of Ergon grips. I have the weight weenie sickness to some degree and Ergon grips are probably the heaviest grips around so I have been resisting even trying them but I recently put my hands on a pair on a friend's bike... The comfort they provide should be appreciated to the point where the added weight might not be all that important. Plus, the weight dropped by using the R1 brakes offsets it.

I also like the nicely integrated bar-ends some models feature. I like riding my cross and road bikes on the hoods a lot, seems like a better hand position to help pulling to put more torque when sprinting and power climbing, plus it feels better on steep long climbs to shift the upper body's weight forward so there it goes, Ergon. I have a pair of GX2 on my way that I'll cut to use with my Grip Shifts. Yes I know they make some models especially for Grip Shifts but the GX serie is lighter and I find the Grip Shift specific models a bit too narrow, I like a bit more space as I move my hands around a lot when I ride. With bar-ends especially, my hands can feel too trapped so I prefer to cut them to my own width.

Other things going in Ergon's favor: along with Crank Brothers, they have one of the nicest logo of the industry and the company has great support: support for their consumers, support for racers and support for race organisers. If Irina Kalentieva can win World Cups and World Championships with slightly hefty grips, I'm guessing I'll be fine with the few additional grams...

6 comments:

electric said...

Warmer air and drivers with their windows rolled down.

too bad about the Ducati...

Carl Buchanan said...

Definitely digging your upgrades for 2009 Dan. Losing the rotating weight is such a huge deal. I had shaved 1.5 pounds off of a bike a few years back and it handled WAY different, in a great way.

The Ducati news the other day was nice by the way. ;) The Desmosedici would be a nice addition although my 996 does just fine for us mere mortals. :)

LP said...

Where the Ducati? I want to collect the corpse!

Dan Gerous said...

Too emotional, I can't talk about the Ducati right now...

Jeff Kerkove said...

Irina runs the GX2 carbons for her races. Since she has super small hands (XS gloves) she cuts about 1/4 inch off the length of the grip.

Dan Gerous said...

I installed them this week, I cut about 20mm off and it's just perfect for my tastes. Not much time on them yet so I may still have to fine tune the angles a bit and I will post a review once I have more miles on them but so far, very nice grips, I'm sold and may very well have to get some for my other bikes...