Monday, December 31, 2007

Bike Repair is like Xmas come early

My winter bike was on the back of my car when I went into a Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee. I come out and a bunch of people are kind of looking at me and the car funny, but nobody says anything so I jump in and go. I get to my destination and as I'm taking the bike off the back, the teeth of the big ring pop out of the bumper as if something had forced them into the bumper-as if maybe a car backed into my car and that is why the silent people were staring.... Thanks for the heads up people.....
Bike won't shift for shit and feels funny so I take it into the shop. Older aluminum frame so I am prepared for the worst. An examination revels only a bent big chain ring-everything else fine. Not bad-short money to replace a chain ring, but since this is my winter/training bike, and I have been thinking about trying a compact crank, maybe now is the time??
Before I can think about the repercussions, I price it out and get ready to leave. Expecting an FSA crank, the shop dude comes back with a compact Campy Centaur with the new "ultra-torque" set up. Cool, more bells and whistles. Bike will be ready the next day.
When I pick it up, I was suddenly blown away like a kid in front of the xmas tree, the cranks looks sick. Arms and spider seem super beefy. High polish finish (like Record had before they went all carbon-maybe those expert metal polishers now do the lower end aluminum gear???) And the kicker, thanks to the Ultra-torque set up you can see through the bottom bracket, so like Rube Goldberg I am just staring going "golly gee".
Upgrade worth it on looks alone. Road report to follow...............

I have had about 10 rides on the new cranks. I was expecting a real black/white experience, but it was more subtle. As far as increased stiffness from the outboard bearings and new bottom bracket, no massive change. The bike (Canondale Caad3 Saeco team issue) was stiff and is still stiff.
I expected more difference between the gear ratios of a standard vs compact crank, but it was not that extreme. Worth it, but not as life changing as the endless web entries led me to believe it would be.

Thumbs up to Campy for finally changing from the square taper.

The biggest dilemma now is with the new design on cranks, older Record and Chorus parts(even carbon) are getting their prices slashed-so do I upgrade my main road bike which is old style Centaur using the old system or wait and redo it with the new Ultra-Torque at whatever level I can afford as well?
Tough choices for sure, so I guess in the end it's a hearty "thanks" to the asshole that backed into my car and helped me upgrade some parts....

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