Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Where the heck am I?

So I haven't been around much. No weekend group rides in about a month, and no evening group rides in about...um....a year? Maybe 2.


No, I'm not in some musty cave obsessing over a ring, although I am kinda obsessed about something else shiny and hopefully very long lasting(more on that later). In case you didn't know and to cram it down everyone's throat yet again, I'm in deep doggy debt. It's not the average, run of the mill household debt of $8k. It's a few multiples of that. Not to mention my car loan. And my student loan. Those last 2 are, I guess, what people expect to have most their lives. But the first needs to change. And I'm working on it. I'm doing overtime at my main job when I can and building bikes pretty regularly. If I'm really moving, I can do 2 bikes an hour which equals a $16 an hour wage. Not too shabby since I can build any time I want and don't have a boss telling me what to do. Well, I guess Miah and Bryan sometimes ask me to build a certain kind of bike, but in my mind, I'm telling myself I was gonna build that anyway. So there.

So since there's no race report, epic ride details, or anything else of huge interest, my blog has become pretty stale. Sorry about that. I can't promise that's going to change in the near future either. I definitely won't pull a Fred and post some partial brilliant story, then leave everyone hanging to curse my name. Actually no, Fred, we aren't cursing your name. We just want to know how the Proudest Moment is going to tie in with part one and two?

Now on to shiny bits. Through bike building, you get to see different bikes. Mostly it's just cruisers, low-end mtbs, "hybrids," and kids bikes. Sometimes you'll get a few high end road, TT, and full squish bikes. Those are all good with their complicated builds and fancy parts that don't impress me much. Mostly because they're difficult to work with - in a mechanic sort of way, and so far beyond my reach economically, it's not even funny.

But my eyes have been opened to a wondrous thing. I have recently built up a few bikes with some tasty bits. Quality, ease of use, durability(if it's standard holds true) and good looks. I'm speaking of the newly released Shimano 105 group.

Shimano got this one right. Well, for my tastes anyway. Dura-Ace, aside from being purdy costly, doesn't look good, especially the crank, and is a serious pain to install. Again, this is all my mechanic induced opinions. 105, on the other hand, is affordable, hopefully durable, sets up easily, and is silvery shiny. The cranks are a little ho-hum, but I have a 7800 crankset that's near perfection to me. And the front shifting is B U T T E R. Like seriously, I've never felt anything shift this smooth. Very impressive.

I may or may not save up the money to buy most of this groupset. What I have right now works, but just so. It's a pretty messy hodge-podge of Campy and Shimano, but I like what it offers compared to everything else. That is, until 105 came out. What I use now is an 11-28 eight speed cassette which works surprisingly well with Campy 10 speed shifters. With 10 speed, I was always chunking 2 gears at a time to get where I wanted to be. That's what happens with single tooth cog increments on a 12-23 cassette. With the 8 speed wide range cassette, I have11, 13, 15, 17, etc which is single click heaven to get where I want to be. There was only a couple times in the past year where I wished I had a gear between the 2 available. That was usually on a slight incline into the wind, and guess what? It's never going to be easy. Just pedal harder or spin more. But with the new 105 having an 11-28 cassette, I think I'll get the best of everything. Gear range, shifting precision, good looks, and ease of setup.

So that's my post of the month. I'm not sure many will read this as it seems most people mainly follow Twitter and Facebook now. Just can't seem to cram all my thoughts into short, few sentence postings. I guess I could try it:

In bad debt. Too busy working, no riding. Fred, finish story. Building bikes fun. New Shimano 105 the shiznit. Facebook and Twitter too sho

See. Even highly condensed I can't say everything.


RD said...

i'm probably going to pickup 105 crank this winter

munsoned said...

I just like highly polished silvery bike bits. I'd go with really old stuff is it was ergonomic as the new stuff. But then I'd be known as a crotchety old bike snob. And nobody wants that.

Mike Miles said...

I already thought you were a crotchety old bike snob...and what do you find so difficult about a Dura Ace crank? Its exactly the same as every other Shimano Hollowtech 2 Road Crank...

E.O'B. said...

105 or Rival? That's my debate right now. I want to get Force for my next race bike, so perhaps Rival on my winter trainer / gravel / 'cross bike? Or do I go Ultegra on the race bike and 105 on the 'cross?

I'm coming from Dura-ace 7800, circa 2006. I've ridden the hell out of it, and it shows: the left shifter died, the right shifter is squishy, a chain ring's bent, the calipers are finicky....

munsoned said...

Eric, I know too well about putting 7800 through the paces. It's a great group, but just won't last forever. I guess most things don't. The main reason for my Campy shifter love is that they're rebuild able, which I have done a couple times. It takes a whole lotta patients, but it's a very rewarding experience.

Mike, the 7900 crankset is not shiny silver. That's my only gripe. I love that there's no 2 sided chainring bolts, but I would hate to cough up the mullah for replacement rings. It's the frugal bike mechanic in me that dislikes the design.

All of this 105 speculating is with zero ride time. I have no idea how it'll handle out on the road, being used and abused. I just know I like the design and it looks good to me. Someday I hope to give it a try.

RF said...

Your efforts to pay down the debt are quite honorable. Way to focus and work hard towards the goal. Hope to sneak in a few fun rides with you as time allows.