Thursday, June 24, 2010

Maiden Voyage

I got my new bike today! As soon as I got home from work I changed into clothes that I didn’t mind getting dirty and I got down to the business of unpacking the Raleigh and finishing its assembly. Of course, that also meant a simultaneous stripping of parts and accessories from the Giant OCR1: the longer Easton EA70 stem, the pedals, the computer, the heart rate monitor, the seat wedge, the bottle cages. I don’t yet have the tools to swap the cassettes, so I took my maiden voyage on the stock Mavic Aksium Race wheelset instead of my much-loved Easton EA70s.

Overall I was really pleased with the first ride, though I had only enough daylight for 15 quick miles. I’ll fine-tune the saddle height and handlebar position over the next couple of rides, but for what it’s worth I was comfortable on today’s ride. There are two mechanical issues that I’ll want to address ASAP. First, steering is very stiff, suggesting an overly-tight headset. Second, getting into or out of the big chainring requires two shifts, almost as if the shifter thinks the bike has a triple and it’s looking for a middle ring.

Then there’s the annoying little stuff. If I stay with my Tacx Tao bottle cages I won’t be able to use anything bigger than a 500ml water bottle in the seat tube cage. Those cages require strictly vertical insertion and removal, and there’s not enough headroom between the cage and the top tube. And I can’t use my frame pump; it’s simply too long for the geometry of the Raleigh. But I’m not sure I would have used it anyway, as I don’t want to damage the finish. Even though the frame pump fits securely on the OCR1, it has marred the seat tube just below the top tube.

I didn’t expect that everything would be perfect right away, and I’m happy with my progress on Day One. Among the most satisfying moments was removing the original price tag from the shifter cable: $2,199.99. I paid $1,199.99 plus $20 shipping. I won’t fret too much about buying some new water bottles and a new inflation device. Even if I go to a professional mechanic to fix my shifting and headset issues, I’ll be ahead of game.

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