Purchase: Speedplay X/2 clipless pedals

The big crash of 2011 put me back to square one on the Gios. I’ve had the Frame and dropouts straightened (at Defiance Bicycles), the RD rebuilt (at Tacoma Bike), and my good friend Joe, who happens to work at Performance Bikes, is ordering rims/spokes for the wheelset.

Making sure the Gios’s ready to ride I was going over the build in my mind and I had forgotten the pedals. The Ultegra cleats were toast ($20 at least) and one pedal was well scraped. Time to get new ones. I explored a couple of options, first looking at Crank Brothers Eggbeaters and then Speedplays. My old neighbour Tim rode both on different bikes. I decided on the Speedplays after reading about the need for SPD shoes on the Crank Brothers. Did some shopping around and found a guy selling a pair of used X/2 in Seattle. How convenient, family day-trip to Seattle the next day! The X/2 are the mid-level steel spindle pedals and lighter then the Cromoly model.

Speedplay X cleats on Sidi Genius 5
Installation
The instructions that came with the (new) cleats were fairly straightforward, with waaayy too much to read. I had to skim to find the important parts and then follow those instructions. I quickly found the right shims and screws for my Sidi Genius 5 shoes and they were installed in a jiffy. There was no confusion on installing the pedals on the test Battaglin; they were well labeled. Once I was sure that the old cranks didn’t strip the threads on the old Dura Ace pedals they were on and I was outside testing them.

Speedplay X/2 installed on Battaglin
Riding
Clipping in for the first time on any clipless pedal is always strange. It took one try to feel comfortable.  Clipping in is easier since there is no need to find the front of the pedal, you position and push down. Riding, my right foot felt comfortable, but my left heel was all over the place, shifting side by side as I was riding. They call this float and I was NOT used to it. My previous Ultegra, and before that Look, pedals had very little float and I liked it. I didn’t like this so I jumped on Speedplay’s support pages and looked for adjustment instructions. Oh…

The X Series Pedal System is for you if you are a:

– Rider who prefers a maximum float range

Bugger! But it says it can take up to 2 weeks to get adjusted. I commuted to work in them today and it felt good to get out of the clips and into some real pedals again! The float was there all the way to work, but on the way home I started to adjust and it felt normal. It can be hard to tell when you’ve properly unclipped. There’s no feedback from the pedal or cleat so I’ve found that I’m overcompensating in my heel-twist. It is easy to unclick so it’s not been a concern.

Recommendation? Hard to say yet. The pedal is about 50g lighter than the Dura Ace Clip and 100g lighter then the Ultegra pedal so there is a small weight gain. Easier to clip in then the traditional Look style. Pedalling feels the same apart from the float. Clipping out will take time. The cleats are metal now so I’m a little less sure-footed when walking through the mall. I’m happy with my purchase though and look forward to getting more time riding.

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Changes afoot

The Gios

To have spent over $700 on the Gios I sure have spent about the same amount on upgrades and improvements. At first the handlebars were waaaay too narrow and I managed a sweet like-for-like trade over at bikeforums.net. It took about 2 months to finally realise that they were (and have been for a while) bent on one side. Oh well, luckily I have these sweet Modolo Ergo bars that I found on ebay for a project that never materialised. A few days ago I discovered that these were loose and done-for. I’m not sure why they’re designed this way.

Modolo Bars, Cinelli Stem

It’s funny how your tastes and preferences evolve. I though I wanted a pure vintage bike with classic Campagnolo stuff. I didn’t know what era. I then discovered that the early nineties stuff was what I liked – I needed ergo shifters (again Campagnolo was a necessity!) As I’ve been preparing for this Criterium and watching the Tour my tastes have been evolving again and focusing now on modernising and lightening the bike. When considering options for replacing the handlebars I decided to get the lighter more modern option (and broke a personal rule and preference for quill stems) of threadless adapter, threadless stem and handlebars. Chris over at Defiance Bicycles helped me find the Velo Orange adapter, a Zeus 10cm stem and Torelli Bormio Handlebars.

Gios Steerer

I think it looks good. I had an opportunity to take it out for a short ride with the boy and it felt good. The handlebar setup brings the Hoods back a bit, so it will take a little to accustom to the new setup. It feels lighter, but I have little evidence to substantiate that. We’ll see how it feels on a longer ride.

Purchase: Campagnolo Chorus Ergo Shifters/Levers – 8 Speed

Campagnolo 8-Speed Ergo Levers

I’ve been looking for ways to upgrade my Gios. The mechanic at Tacoma Bike told me all the Campy stuff I have on my bike is essentially crap. In spite being Chorus (which is typically the second highest quality in the Campy line – equivalent to Ultegra for Shimano) the brake-levers don’t do anything and the early Syncro shifters only really work in friction mode. If I want to have a real race bike I have to do something to sort this out. My solution: upgrade the system to Ergo levers. This solves the brake lever issue, gearing problems and moves the shifter-controls up to the hand, so I don’t have to keep finding the down-tube. I was shopping for anything basically: 8, 9 or 10 speed, knowing that only the 9 & 10 speed are interchangeable. For a few weeks I existed only on ebay to make other sellers more money. I just couldn’t afford to drop $200+ on a pair of levers, with a derailleur and wheel-set still needed. I found these eight-speeds for quite a bit less, committed myself and now I’m shopping some more.

Campagnolo 8-Speed Ergo Levers

Campagnolo 8-Speed Ergo Levers

Campagnolo 8-Speed Ergo Levers

Campagnolo 8-Speed Ergo Levers

Rode the Rolls today

San Marco Rolls

Rode to work on the San Marco Rolls today. A bikeforums.net purchase. I had to replace the Chorus seatpost because it was too small and rather then moving the Flite over I decided to mount the Rolls. Was a comfortable ride and I’m looking forward to getting more saddle time in it. Not sure how to compare to the Turbo or Flite yet, but I’ll get more thoughts on it soon.

Tacoma Bike Swap

Tacoma Bike Swap 2011 - indoors.

Wasn’t a big or crazy as the Cronometro Bike Swap in Madison, but it was still good to get out and meet people and look at some sweet bikes. There were a few nice setups: an Eddie Merckx with Dura Ace 7400 (same as on my gaspipe Battaglin), a Benotto, and an Alan framed Guerciotti (which I’m still not sure how to pronounce.) The indoor area seemed to be the more serious zone with Tacoma Bike’s stand there and a couple of real collectors (lots of yummy Campagnolo stuff). Outside was generally mid to low-end bikes, the selling coral, $7 helmet fitting and mountain bike goods.

I succumbed to my love of Record Hubs and I’m now 2-for-2 in buying a one at a Bike Swap (I had picked up a Rear Pista Hub at the Madison one a few years back). This one was a modern 10-speed hub which will hopefully be the starting point for getting a modern gruppo on my Gios Compact Pro. I also picked up a Nitto Moustache handlebar for the Medici build which I’m now having second-thoughts about.

Apart from the odd embarrassing moment when my mind went blank and I couldn’t think of the right word – this is something that happens to me when I’m around people who know more about bikes then me – it was pretty fun and quick because I had to shoot to work early. I think I need to make a list of parts I’m on the lookout for. I got home and remembered a couple of other things I had totally forgotten that I needed.

Tacoma Bike Swap This Saturday

Tacoma Bike Swap

From exit133.com

The 3rd annual Tacoma Bike Swap will be held on Saturday, April 30th from 10am to 2pm at the University of Puget Sound Memorial Fieldhouse, located on the corner of N. 11th and Union Avenue. This is a great event, with a wide range of bicycles and related merchandise. We’ve seen everything from 1970’s European road bikes to “tricked out” contraptions that wouldn’t look out of place in a music video. The swap draws individuals looking to sell a set of wheels and well-stocked bike shops.

We have been informed that there is still plenty of vendor space available, but the time to secure your space is now. You can find out more here. The organizers would like to remind you that if you’d like to sell 1 or 2 bikes, all you need to do is lock them to the corral at the venue with a tag informing potential buyers of your phone number.

Highlights of the Bike Swap include:

  • $7 adult and children’s helmets and free helmet fittings with Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Center for Childhood Safety.
  • Free Intro to Bike Maintenance with REI at 11:30AM and 12:15PM.
  • Free flat repairs by Tacoma Bike
  • Bike registration in a national data base

Warmer weather is approaching, and you’re going to want to experience it on a bike. And don’t forget – Bike to Work Week is coming up fast!

The Tacoma Bike Swap is part of Bike Month 2011 and is a collaborative effort of the City of Tacoma, Pierce Transit and Pierce County. For more information, visit PierceTrips.com