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
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
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.

Battaglin 87 World Champion on Craigslist

Battaglin '87 World Champion

This popped up last week on Craigslist in my area (I won’t bother linking to the posting, since it will be deleted soon enough). This is the 1987 World Champion bike, a model built to celebrate Stephen Roche winning the World Championship. This was also the same year Roche won the Triple Crown, only the second man to do so.

As I’m digging deeper into bikes I’m learning a little about my tastes. This is a beautiful bike, but I don’t like the powder-coating. Colour is fine, It’d look better on a 3 speed with a brown leather Brooks and handlebars. The original colours are a lot more interesting. So, first of all – original paint! Secondly, I’m starting to really dislike mixing parts from different eras and brands. That Record front brake looks horrible there! So for me, the Group is important. (I say that as I have a Battaglin with 7400 with Athena Crankarms and a Chorus equipped Gios with a Daytona Seatpost – the fluted Chorus one was waaaay too short)

Battaglin '87 World Champion

Battaglin '87 World Champion

Battaglin '87 World Champion

Battaglin '87 World Champion

Battaglin Aelle Tubing

Battaglin Aelle - Drive Side

This bike was for sale in my area a few months back. I corresponded with the seller a number of times about buying it, but it’s odd group of components and Aelle tubing turned me off. I think I was looking for something a bit purer, so ultimately I went with the Gios. Looking at it now, I realise this is a lot of bike and there would have been very little for me to change. Oh well. I’m on-board with the Gios and want to get it 100% road-worthy.

This is quite a bike though, looks fun to ride.

Battaglin Shifters

Battaglin Rear Wheel

Battaglin Front End

Battaglin Seat Tube
I love this seat tube. I couldn’t explain to you why I’ve gravitated to this brand. I tend towards the lesser known brands. That’s why I’ll probably never own a Bianchi (although the pull of Celeste is strong), De Rosa or a Colnago, but a little brand like Battaglin, I’m all over it!

See the full sale post here: link

First Ride

The Battaglin at the end of the ride

After a few crazy months of searching for a house, moving into said house and dealing with winter, I finally got out for a ride. A short 17 miler along the water-front to Point Defiance and back. Started off well, I rode downhill, through downtown and got some speed up, quickly realising how much I had missed this. Last summer I was riding weekly around the lakes and in the countryside of Madison, WI and felt in very different shape.

Riding for pleasure is so different to commuting. Losing the backpack and not having a time crunch makes all the difference in the world! The straight along Rustin Way was a blast: I went as fast as I could into the wind (which is odd, because I’m pretty sure I rode into the wind on the way back too!). The climb up into Rustin proper was easier then I ever expected; my daily commute involves 2 decent hills, and this one was a pinch! As I started the loop around 5-Mile Drive in Point Defiance I caught up to a rider in his 50s on a Carbon Trek. He seemed to be struggling so I started conversation. He’d been really sick and had to quit work to get better. He started telling me about an expensive wind-breaker that he’d been holding out for, but finally decided to buy. Guess who makes it? Yup, Rapha! I replied by telling him that $200 is a lot in bike-parts. Not a concern for him – after all he has a few Treks with Dura-Ace & Record (bastard!). It was fun actually riding with someone for a change, but I had to drop him when he took a break for the restroom.

On the ride back I decided to tackle what is probably Tacoma’s steepest hill! It was so steep I couldn’t stop climbing to change down to my bottom gear – curse these downtube shifters! I made it home intact and checked my stats – an average of 16mph which is a notch higher then what I would regularly get in Wisconsin. And this is all on the heavier Battaglin. Can’t wait until I get the fork-shudder taken care of on the Gios!

Ride Map - 5/6/11
Ignore the first 4 miles – this was from a ride with Olivier a few weeks back.

For the full map with mile splits see: Ride Map

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.

Battaglin Team Bike on eBay

Battaglin Team Bike

Since I already talked about Giovanni Battaglin, I had to link to this bike. This is close to being one of my “Holy Grail” bikes. A 1994 Battaglin Team Bike. Columbus SLX tubing for the frame (light & stiff). The group is 9-speed Campagnolo Chorus and the whole thing looks spotless. Fortunately its a 56cm frame, so even though it’s tempting, I’d be way too small for me.

Battaglin Team Bike - Seat Cluster

Battaglin Team BIke - Fork
The little details like the pantographs on the forks are what make bikes like this stand out.

Battaglin Team Bike - Rear Dropouts
Again, more neat details.

Battaglin Team Bike - Cinelli Bottom Bracket
What is it about those Cinelli Bottom Brackets that just make me feel all funny inside.

Bike is listed on eBay, currently at $1200 with reserve not met. (Price-wise $1200 seems about right to me) eBay Listing