Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The first tendrils

This year I have to turn the garage from a dumping ground into a work space. It's a separate, unheated building, so winter is not the best time to dredge around in its stagnant backwaters trying to differentiate between sunken treasure and silty junk.

After yet another weird winter that kept coming and going, the promise of an early spring turned into a bad joke. It's been cold or wet or windy or some combination. But with a day here and a day there I've shoved a few things around to get ready for the real makeover. Since the transition also involves the basement, where the cellist's instrument repair and storage facilities replace my greasy exploits, a lot of pieces have to pass each other outdoors.

Little things help keep the project moving forward. Today I put a Velo Orange Grand Cru compact crank on my road bike, releasing the Sugino I'd been using. That's turning back into a triple on my brother's road bike. I'd been using it with only two rings because it was the nicest looking crank I could get when I needed it about ten years ago.

The Grand Cru I got doesn't have the drilled-out rings. I didn't use the stock rings anyway, even though I love the styling. 48-34 is just too low for my needs. I put on 50-36.

The bike feels very snappy and quite fast enough for my current level of fitness. We'll see how I like it later in the season. If I need to I can make a Frankencassette with a 12. The rest of the gears felt like usable options on my short test spin in the early dusk. And the crank looks great with the Campy Nuovo Record front derailleur and Record steel road pedals.

Sliding ever further toward sporty comfort I had already put on 700X28 tires and slid the rear wheel back a little in the rear dropouts to take some of the slap out of bumps. At its tightest the bike was never as racy as my Grandis. That was a sweet ride I sold in a fit of personal austerity in 1986 after four years of tempestuous love. The link goes to a very similar bike on Classic Rendezvous. That thing was ridiculously tight, although in my 20s I did not consider the ride at all harsh. I'd be curious to see what I thought of it today.

The geometry on my road bike today is closer to the Eisentraut Limited the Grandis replaced. As road bike geometry evolved, road and criterium geometries grew closer and closer even before the advent of aluminum, carbon fiber and highly manipulated tubing shapes. The 'Traut was great for an all-day ride, but not so much for throwing elbows in a tight field. It wasn't sluggish, just more genteel than a short-course battle bike.

Not the greatest weather forecast for a bike commuter this week, but at least we don't have tornadoes, dust storms or howling blizzards.


RANTWICK said...

Glad to see this post. You talk bike bits n' pieces like few others. Also I can get behind any post with Tendrils in the title. Love that word. Don't know why.

greatpumpkin said...

Or elevendrils (2013 model). Glad to read the update.