Thursday, March 6, 2014

Winter Allaben part 9: getting ready for shake-down cruise

After the photo shoot, Eric took his saddle back, packed the Winter Allaban up, and shipped it to me. And it looked even better in person than it looks in the photos. Really, it's stunning. A really quality paint job such as the one Kim Anderson did, even in monchrome, is so much nicer than the usual production bike work.

Putting it together presented a few issues. One was I was unfamiliar with the Paul Racer brakes. I accidentally detensioned them, and not realizing how tension was controlled, I was unable to get the brakes to retract properly from the rims. After carefully reading the on-line instructions for the brakes I finally figured out how to tension the springs which are responsible for pulling the brake pads away from the rim. The cable pulls them toward the rim, the spring pulls them away. The latter would have allowed dispensing with the brake bridge. But he said he uses the bridge and single bolt mount on his own bike. So I have to be happy with that.


The next issue was my usual bad habit of not tightening bolts enough. I put the Bebop pedals on, mounted my bike in my Keen sandles, and set off for a quick cruise around my very steep San Francisco block. But then I hit a ridge in the asphalt which has a history of testing handlebar stem bolts, and sure enough, the bars rotated. I hadn't tightened the single retension bolt enough. I then tested other bolts, and I noticed I had left several others loose in my preliminary set-up. This problem was easily fixed.

But then a more serious problem. I was checking dimensions on the bike and noticed the Q-factor (pedal stance) on the crank arms was high: 167 mm. I was checking the White Industries web site and noticed the crank was the mountain version, not the road version. I contacted Eric and he said he'd asked for the "VBC crank", and for some reason the mountain version had been shipped. So I had to remove the crank, box it up, and ship it back to Eric. He, meanwhile, ordered a road one and shipped that to me. This caused a delay of about 1.5 weeks. But the road crank came in right on spec at a Q of 150 mm. My hips are narrow and so my knees like smaller Q's, so getting this right was more than worthwhile.

So finally, it was time for my first real ride, and I wanted a legitimate test. Since it will take some shoe surgery to make the Bebop cleat fit on the Giro mountain bike shoes I'd just purchased, I mounted a pair of Garmin Vectors I'd not yet used. I was in a rush and didn't want to go through the proper installation procedure for proper power measurement, so just used them as dumb pedals. Any ANT+ data they optistically transmitted were lost in the vacuum of space.

As I set off, I found I liked the pedals more than expected. They have a better walking surface than the Speedplay road cleats, by far, and clip-in is perhaps easier than the Shimano SPD-SL's I recently sold. I didn't miss the Speedplay rotational float much, either. But even if they were easier to clip into than the Shimanos, they're still single-sided, and occasionally I'd try to clip into the wrong side. So I look forward to trying the Bebops with their double-sided entry.

I'll continue the story next time...

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