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.

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

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

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.

Look La Vie Claire

Look La Vie Claire

Cycleexif.com posted this up today, and while I tried to promise myself that I wouldn’t always link to them, I couldn’t resist this. What a beauty! Early Carbon frame, the ever beautiful Delta brakes and the clincher for me is that I have this gruppo on my Gios. This is making me rethinking upgrading it to a modern 10 speed group.

Here’s a few more:
Fork & shifters

More Look!

For the full post: Here

Quicksilver (1986)


After hearing about a 1980s bike-messenger movie starring Kevin Bacon I had to watch it. Swiftly added to Netflix queue and patiently waited for. On saturday night Tracie and I settled down to watch it and here are my thoughts. I’m not going to do a review, because the movie’s terrible!

Firstly, I wasn’t aware that the messenger culture was as old as the mid-eighties. Presumably the creators of this movie had similar motivation as those who made the early breakdancing & graffiti movies. They had identified an emerging culture and used it as a backdrop for a story. Looks like they were about 20 years too early! Watching it, I identified primarily geared bikes – at least one Raleigh with what appeared to be a Campagnolo Record Gruppo – but Kevin Bacon’s character’s bike was a Raleigh Track bike of some kind, riding brake-free. It was fascinating to already see many elements of messenger culture on screen in the mid-eighties: cycling caps (obviously! – I had a twinge of pride when the messenger dispatch wore a Gios cap and couldn’t help but point out to my wife: “that’s my bike!”), track-bikes on the street and messenger bags that looked almost no different then they do today.

Hanging out at dispatch

We start the movie with taxi-riding financier Bacon racing against a messenger (on the Raleigh road bike) and this is classic movie rubbish: the rider, recognising the race is on changes gear, but not to a higher gear for more speed, you see him pull the down-tube mounted shifter towards him and he shifts to a lower gear. This would have increased his (already decent) cadence and caused him to reduce speed. I, of course pointed that out only to be shushed by Tracie who really didn’t want me to pull the movie apart. Too late!

More movie convenience later when they have one of those classic lets-have-a-group-trick-demo moment with everyone clapping and cheering in that wonderful movie way. Their track bikes have all magically had their gearing changed from road-riding – replaced with tiny chainrings, crank-arms & cogs for tricks. Presumably they magically change back when it’s time to go back to delivering packages.

My favourite moment was the race between Bacon and Fishbourne. They start the race facing downhill on rather a steep incline. “Wait, isn’t this set in New York? Isn’t Manhattan basically flat? Hold on a minute, that looks a lot like San Francisco!” Later as they’re riding: “Isn’t that Coit tower?” And suddenly they’re back in New York to end the race!

Overall it was a pretty amusing movie that represented cycling well enough. I’d definitely recommend it, even if its only to take a look at Bacon with a moustache!

Quicksilver poster

Quicksilver | Netflix | Amazon | iTunes