Monday, October 14, 2013

Equipment - Winter Plans

With the road season over with, at least for me, I started thinking about what I need to do for 2014. I do this each year, sometimes in an organized way ("I want to rebuild my bike and get it 100%"), sometimes in a haphazard and spontaneous way ("I need to reglue the tires that flatted" or "The chain is worn").

This year it's a bit of both.

The haphazard stuff, the stuff I need to do, include the following:

1. Glue rain tires on the Stinger 6s. My last race had some wet turns and the front tire felt really sketchy compared to the rear. I had the same experience when I raced at Limerock, in pouring rain. In both situations I had a rain specific rear tire, the Vittoria Tech tire. The tire features aggressive scallops designed to concentrate the tire's weight onto the road. The tread cavities reduce surface contact and make the tread bit a bit more squirmy so that there is more pressure pushing down on the tread that's in contact with the road. I can't say for sure that the tire will help but I know the rear tire felt fine in the rain and the front tire, an ordinary Vittoria EVO CX or a similar Bontrager, both felt very sketchy.

A couple of each, Techs below, regular EVOs up top.

You can see the scallop tread on the close up.
Note: the 28" nomenclature is the Euro way of saying 700c, so these are 700x23 tires.

With the current quiver of wheels I think that it's safe to say that I'll run the Stinger 7/9 pair most of the time. The 6s will be for rain, pit wheels, stuff like that. Therefore the 7/9s will get EVO CXs, the 6s will get Techs.

2. Replace the battery in my backup SRM crankset. I was using it this year and the battery died. Enough said.

The dead battery spider, upside down or sideways.
I don't know how to rotate pictures once I upload them into Blogger.

3. Overhaul the BB30 stuff on the red bike. I think I need to use some kind of gap fill between the bearings and the shell since that's where it's creaking. If I drip some lube at the bearing/shell area the creaking stops for a bit. I don't know what the long term solution is - blue Loctite? Grease? Antiseize? Drill a lubrication port in the BB shell?

Believe it or not I'm considering the last thing most seriously. Two holes, one on each side, to drip lube into the bearing/frame interface. Maybe one more up higher somewhere, sort of an air pressure inlet (to help force things along).

The holes would also help deal with condensation. The BB shell may be "sealed" but moisture still gets in there.

BB on the red bike.

So that's the immediate "to do" list.

The more planned stuff, the stuff that I'd like to get done, include the following:

1. Set up the bars the same between the two bikes. Right now the red bike, my primary, has FSA Energy deep drop but short reach bars, with a 14 cm 65 degree stem. The black bike, now my backup, has my normal crit bend bar (long reach, deep drop as far as compact bars are concerned) and the appropriate 12 cm stem. I'd like to have the same bars and stem on both bikes.

The only problem is that I'm not sure which bar will work best. I'm not really pleased with the FSA Energy bars - the drops feel weird - but I definitely like the deeper 15 cm drop. Therefore I need a more rounded bar, 15 cm drop, 8 cm reach.

2. Narrower bars. Along with a better bar configuration the alleged 42 cm FSA Energy bars are so wide I feel like I should be steering a motorcycle with them. I want to get 40 cm bars at widest.

3. Possibly move back to the older 10s style Ergo levers. I bought the new Ergo levers for the red bike because I wanted to try the "one click, one shift" thumb shifter. At critical moments I've shifted two gears higher and I wanted to avoid that.

The current set up with the new style Ergo levers.
These are the wide bars and they are not cut down. I'd probably cut the first 3 spirals of tape off.

However I've also found many times where I wanted to shift twice or even three times at once and I couldn't because of the "one click, one shift" thumb shifter. At a late season race I rode the black bike, with the older 10s type levers, to the pits and I really liked the way the shifters felt. This got me thinking that one of my off-season tasks may be to switch the red bike back to the original shifters.

4. Replace saddle on black bike. I am on an SLR saddle on the red bike, and it's been good for 4.5 hour rides. Therefore I've given it my stamp of approval. It's not quite the Titanio but the Titanios I have are literally 15 or even 20 years old, based on the manufacturing date stamped under the shell. I've broken one, the others are damaged, and I'm ready to move to a current saddle design.

Saddle for the black bike (I bought it used). Ti rails, otherwise regular stuff.

The black bike still has my best Titanio on it, one with plastic (not even carbon fiber) rails. I have a Ti railed SLR ready for the black bike. It's a matter of just switching it.

5. Contemplate pedals. I can clip out of the Keo Max pedals pretty easily, almost at will. The Keo Carbons hold my shoe better but are wearing out (hence my purchase of the Keo Max pedals). With Look coming out with a new, higher tension pedal, it may be time to try one of those.

I'm cheating and using this picture again.
Keo Max pedals on this one, using the Carbons for now.

If there's a hack to increase pedal tension on a Keo Max I'm all ears.

The other option is to go with a Shimano pedal - those hold cleats much better than the Looks. I doubt I'll do this as I'd want to get at least two sets of pedals (for my two primary bikes), and I'd rather get 4 sets to include the less used two other bikes.

6. Revive the Jet wheels. I still want to give them a shot and I haven't ridden them in a bit. Maybe things will have changed, I don't know. I want to weigh them (I know the rear was 600g heavier than the Stinger 6, and both share the same hub, virtually the same cassette, and they use the same type of spokes). I want to do some comparison tests, rough ones, to see why I've never finished a race on the Jets where I could not only finish but I could contest the sprint on the Stingers.

The wheels have been laying around the basement, the Jet 6 front since late 2010 (except when I packed them up as spares for trips involving flying the bike somewhere), the Jet 9 since last year some time.

So that's the plan for the winter. I don't have a schedule per se so I should probably get on that, do a "by this time I'll have that done". I know my first big block of training will/may be in later December so that's one of my first deadlines. After that I have no idea.


Crash said...

I went to narrower bars this year and noticed a big diff. I noticed my shadow profile is slimmer and my sprint speed was higher. 44 to 40cm. I compared them A-B and effect was drastic, more so than a lower stem. Lower wind noise too.

Aki said...

Glad to see your feedback on your experience. I rode 41 cm bars until recently. The 42s that I got feel like super-wide bars. Way in the past, when Lemond popularized wider bars, I was using 42 and 44 bars. Adam Hansen's interesting fit/equipment choices got me thinking about the narrow bars. I think the 40s should be okay but I may try the 38s. My shoulders aren't that narrow so the 38s would be a (non-)stretch.

kendogz161 said...

Hey Aki, just finish my first racing season yesterday in Jamestown RI. I see what you mean about bike maintaince. During this season I been doing little repairs and adjustments here and there.
Now I feel like I want to take the bike apart and get it a overhaul.
Also have you ever done a post about tubular wheels? Thinking about getting these next season but on the fence.

Aki said...

Every year my bike seems like it's slowly falling apart and I'm tired and don't feel like working on it, especially with the limited number of nice days to do other outdoor type things (car things, lawn things, house things, etc). Then once it's super cold it's no fun to, say, wash the bike outside. Blah blah. Heh.

I have a few posts on tubulars:
Why tubulars

Basically tubulars are the schnizzle when it comes to racing - they're much lighter, they're more flat resistant, and in some situations they're both safer and more versatile if you flat.

The question is how deep do you want to go. I don't think I have a post on what I think works best but I figure that ultimately it's best to have a very shallow front, a deep front, and a deep rear (so in the HED Stinger line a Stinger 3 front, Stinger 7 front, Stinger 9 rear).

It's also important to stay with similar width clinchers. When I first got the 28mm wide Stingers I didn't have the 23mm wide Ardennes rimmed wheels yet and I had to undo the anchor bolt for the brakes when I switched wheels. With the Ardennes rimmed wheels it's 5-6 full turns of the barrel adjuster. Ideally I'd want to have 25-28mm wide clinchers so I wouldn't have to adjust the brakes at all.

If you don't have wide rims now then I'd go with older 21mm wide tubulars - Reynolds, Zipp, Easton, there are a bunch out there. If you have 23mm wide rims I'd look for the wide rims, like the Stingers, Firecrest, and some of the newer ones coming out. You can pick up Stingers used for a decent price - I bought my 7 front and 9 rear used, and previously I bought my Reynolds DV46 clinchers used.

Fiery said...

Have you tried rotating the FSA bar a bit more forward? It should flatten the useful part of the drops some more so it might be more comfortable for your wrists.
I use the 3T Ergosum bar which is shallower but has the similar drop shape. Initially I had it set up for the modern flat ramps to hoods transition, but I've found myself rotating them further and further forward/down and it feels much better in the drops. With the FSA New Ergo shape this would be even more noticeable because the drops are angled more in order to achieve the 15cm depth.

Aki said...

I've tried it, before I taped it, but it didn't work well as it screwed up how the levers lined up.

I've actually opened a discussion on a solution which I'll post about soon.

shovelhd said...

Aki, to reduce BB30 creaking, use Loctite RC601 green retaining compound, not thread sealer. I use three dots, one at 4, 8, and 12 o'clock.