Equipment Damage

Think you smell new bike? Yup. BotchedExperiment has taken the dive and invested in a roadie. And after much consternation and gnashing of teeth, he gave in and wrote a blog entry about his latest aluminum addition. Feel free to reflect on your own euphoric experience of having your bike replace your dog in the "man’s best friend" category:

Although I’ve been riding since 1989, I’ve never really owned a road bike and I haven’t been on one at all in about 15 years. My “road” bikes have always been mountain bikes with 1.5-inch semi-slick tires on them. Last year, in training for the Park City E-100 mountain bike race, I put in quite a few miles on the road, so this year I thought I’d pick up an inexpensive real road bike. On Saturday, I nabbed a new 2005 Cannondale R500. I only had time for a 30-minute cruise but it felt really light and responsive. On Sunday, I was able to go out for about 2.5 hours and covered a variety of terrain.

First Impressions:

• Very light and very stiff. Stomp on the pedals and the bike spurts forward. This bike accelerates very quickly.

• More comfortable than I expected. I expected to need several weeks to get used to the riding position, but it actually felt pretty good (with one major exception, see below paragraph).

• Big tires roll quite smoothly. They’re skinny and hard, but the larger diameter wheels allow them to roll over bumps pretty well. This makes me think that there might really be something to the current 29” mountain bike wheel craze.

• Fast on the flats, amazingly fast on descents. It is super easy to get the bike up to 30 mph on the flats (not so easy to keep the bike at 30), and with a little downhill, it pops right up to the high 30’s almost without even trying.

• Not faster on the climbs. This was the biggest disappointment, which in retrospect I should have been able to predict. The single biggest factor in climbing fast, is (of course) overcoming gravity. Losing a couple pounds off the bike does very little to reduce the total weight of bike and rider. Since wind resistance (at the speed I climb) is negligible, superior aerodynamics is wasted. This gave me newfound respect for the Pros’ riding up huge mountains at 17+mph.

• I hate the triple chainring cranks that came on the bike. The middle ring is fairly useless as the chain crossover is too extreme to use the middle ring with the top or bottom two cogs. The thing I REALLY HATE about the triple rings is that I need them! I definitely need the lower gears that the cursed granny cog provides.

Damaged Equipment:

I never noticed that all my bike shorts have a seam right in the middle of the front that runs from the top of the chamois up to the waistband. On my mountain bikes, this was never a problem. Due to the different riding position of the roadie, I am now acutely aware of this seam.

Newfound Interest:

An unexpected result of getting the bike is that I suddenly have an interest in trying some road races and criteriums (isn’t that supposed to be criteria?). In fact this Saturday I’m going to go ride my first crit (call me Cat5). I’m thinking of putting a big black ‘Cat 5’ chain-mark on my leg on purpose.

Overall I’m really happy (so far) with my decision to get a road bike and I’m also quite happy with the R500. (Photo coming)


12 thoughts on “Equipment Damage

  1. Unknown

    The only thing that fits here, is an expression from the Greatest Movie Ever Fillumed… "Dude!  Sweet!"
    Hey, on that triple thing and shifting thing – the STIs should have an "index" on the front derailer.  In other words, there should be two clicks on each chainring, one giving you good alignment for cogs 1-5, the other for 6-10.  Try doing a little "half shift" and see if you can get it to click just a little, and line up better.  (So much for indexed shifters, eh?  Here we are back in the days of friction shifters…)  I assume it\’s mostly Tiagra or 105, if so it should have the indexing.  If not, it needs an adjustment.  For what it\’s worth, a lot of bikes seem to have a little trouble with triples, I know of a couple Specialized models that are reputed to have this problem, partly as a result of the triple just being weird, partly due to frame geometry (short chainstay) causing greater than-is-edifying chain deflection.  Second point on that, you can ditch the triple for a "compact double."  The compact double gives you a 50-34, the 34 is probably nearly as low as your current granny gear.  The 50 is probably two or three teeth lower than your current chainring.  I\’m guessing your current cassette is a 12-25 or 12-26.  If you find you miss the top end from losing a few big ring teeth (I wouldn\’t have believed it was possible until last week\’s crit, but if a Cat 5 pack hits 40 MPH on mild downhills…), you can swap out to a 11-26 cassette, which will pretty much make up for the lost teeth.  The only concern would be whether your front derailer and STI shifter are double chainring compatible.  They should be… but ask the LBS. 
    Finally, on the crit thing… do it, ride hard, see what happens.  I bet you will enjoy the heck out of it.

  2. Unknown

    Al — 30/42/52 up front and 12-26 in the rear.  I could defintely see needing the 11.  Upgrading the cranks and switching to a double is probably going to be the first upgrade I do.  The front derailleur is set up correctly, there\’s just too much chain deflection to run the middle ring on the top or bottom cog.  It\’ll shift right off the top cog to the 2nd cog and from the 9th cog to the 8th cog (if it\’s under very much pressure).
    I\’m definitely going to do the crit, but the guy I talked to said that if there weren\’t enough Cat5\’s and citizen class rider\’s they\’d group us with the Cat3/4 group, so it might be a baptism by fire.
    erica — Thanks. The photo(s) should be posted by Caloi on Thursday.

  3. Unknown

    Nice ride – but, don\’t show up at that crit w/ reflectors on your wheels. Nothing sez rook more than that, not even a shark bite.

  4. Zed

    He did mention on the e-mail that he has since removed the reflectors. Look at the photo again, only this time try to pretend the reflectors aren\’t there.

  5. Sue

    Boz — Yeah, the reflectors didn\’t survive the 1st day.  They used to put those things on with a back piece that you inserted thrhough the spokes and twisted.  Easy on, easy off.  Now the back piece goes straight through and clips into the reflector.  They were tough to get out!
    BIG Mike — Deciding to do the road races has forced a (short lived) delima.  To shave or not to shave.  Although there was a time I was a shaver, I don\’t think I\’m going to bother just because I\’m going to enter a few crits and road races.  Call me Fred: I\’m using mt bike pedals, mt bike shoes, mt bike gloves, mt bike helmet, and maybe I\’ll wear baggy mt bike shorts too.  Under those circumstances I don\’t think being hairy on top of it all is that big a deal.

  6. michael

    Yeah, on an embarrassing note, I couldn\’t initially figure out how to get those darn reflectors off, so I actually rode with them on for a while. I even raced with them on a couple of times. I do occasionally ride at night, so I\’ll admit I still have the rear reflector on my seatpost. It also helps prevent seatpost slippage.

  7. Jord

    mmm new bike
    Crud now I have to clean up this drool.
    So I went out on my bike last night, went by your house but you were just leaving and you were too far off to notice me, I attempted to stalk you but believe it or not your car outran me.  It\’s ok, I\’m glad you didn\’t see me after I climbed that hill back up to my house–I slept very well last night.

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