Thursday, January 04, 2007

Aerolites, the struggle

Kind of appropriate. Struggling with Aerolite pedals. If it wasn't a struggle to set them up or to walk around on their cleats, we'd all be riding Aerolites. Well, I think a bit of float would help the cause too.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours grinding and filing various pieces of plastic to try and make myself an Aerolite cleat mount for a Sidi shoe. I started out with some polycarbonate but then found four Sidi SPD (i.e. the mountain bike SPD) adapters in my shoe bin. I decided to use them as the base and grind away the little cleat protecting ridges.

My goal is to use the adapter plate to get myself about 5-10 mm of shoe height. In this day and age of "reducing the foot to pedal axle distance", what possesses me to raise my foot higher? It's fit. I want to increase the delta between my seat height and bar height by 5-10 mm (more if possible). This is part of my plan to return my bike position to my "fit" days. It involves trying to either jack up my seat or dropping my stem. When I gained weight during 2000-2003, I ended up so heavy my belly hit my legs when I pedaled. You know you're heavy when that's happening. I had to raise the bars to clear my stomach. Now that I'm getting a bit better again, I'm looking to return to that blazing Cat 3 form I had back in the day. hahahaha.

(Just to clarify, I'm still a Cat 3)

Since I can't jack up the seat (seat-pedal height is correct) the reasonable alternative is to drop my stem. But it's already down low, it's a 73 degree stem, and I don't feel like milling my headtube like I did on my first Cannondale (to increase the headtube angle, if you can believe that). A deeper drop bar would work but there are none with a crit bend upper, so I'm stuck with my current bars (and they're not shallow at least).

Using a shorter crank would do it - I dropped my seat 5 mm when I put my 175's on. As I used to run 170's, I could go back to them and raise my seat 5 mm. Get more pedal speed, lose some power. I've debated this internally ever since I went to 175's and have decided that for now I'll stay with 175's. My rational is that BMX guys use super long cranks for good acceleration and they can spin pretty quickly. I haven't broken 250 rpm with 175's but I've gotten within a few rpms of that, and my max on 170 mm cranks is 286 rpm, so I'm close enough. I use the 175mm leverage on short power hills and since they're all over the crits I do, I want to keep them.

Changing pedals would do it, if the pedals were taller. Aerolites are not tall. But an adapter plate would add the height I want. And it would drop some absurd amount of weight. Even with plates etc, the pedals should be about 100-120 grams for the pair.

Anyway, with all this in mind, I've been trying to get my Aerolites back into working order.

I ended up covering a bit of my very cluttered garage with plastic shavings and got pretty good at milling with the Dremel. When I went to put on the cleat, I found that Aerolite made another boo-boo - the "SPD" holes are spaced a little too far apart. The screws don't fit squarely, and if it was a regular cleat, it wouldn't be a big deal. But the screw juts out into the actual pedal body and will muck it up. I tried different things - like other Sidis, various combinations of putting in the screws at the same time, but nothing worked.

For now, my Aerolite project is on hold. I'll probably pick it up Saturday as tomorrow is my finacee's birthday.

1 comment:

DPN said...

Well, I'm also trying to develop a mounting system for these pedals as well. Good luck, and please keep us posted.

I just can't walk away from that weight!!!

Great site...I also watch your YouTube crit videos while I'm on my trainer...

DPN