Friday, August 30, 2013

Winter bike nearly ready ... and new shoes

 Since winter is coming, I figured it was time to get my bike ready for winter. There were a lot of things about the bike I wanted to change before winter set in: Wheels, brakes, bottom bracket, tires and add a power meter.

So, a few weeks ago, I took advantage of a few team deals and picked up some new stuff for the winter bike and started getting it ready for the winter.

In the end, it was perfect timing since it rained all week and having the changes made allowed me to ride to work on the winter bike with no worries.

Changes to the bike:

First and foremost are new wheels. I had these built up by Brent at Portland Bicycle Studio. They are comprised of H Plus Son Archetype rims, 32 DB Sapim spokes and White Industries Disc Brake hubs. The build is fairly light, spins up quickly and feel really solid. I also added 28c Continental Gatorskin tires ... which I'm not sure how I feel about yet. Once these are worn out I may switch to some Panaracer, Schwable or Specialized tires.

Next change was the brakes. I liked the Avid BB7 calipers that came with the bike originally, however their single piston design leads to the disc rubbing on the non moving caliper. It was a little annoying and lead to a little extra pad wear.

So, with new brakes out ... I decided to go with TRP Spyre brakes. They are dual caliper, cable actuated brakes. This pulls both pads away from the disc eliminating the disc rub. They are also about 2 cm narrower than the Avid's and a bit lighter.

Set up was super easy and adjustment is just turning the cable adjuster ... no more messing with dials such as on the Avid's. With an inline cable adjuster the brakes can be adjusted near the bars and on the fly unlike the Avid's.

Overall feel is good with much improved lever feel. The Avid's always felt really mushy, but the TRP's have a solid feel to them without reverting to different cables. With some Nokian cables I would imagine these would feel as solid or more solid than a normal road brake set up. Power is good, maybe just slightly lower than the Avid's, modulation is very good which is important in the rain.

I'm not sure how well the pads will hold up in the rain though. During my first, full rain ride I could tell there was some noticeable wear in the pads. They are fairly cheap to replace, however, I got around 2200 miles out of the Avid's and hopefully can get the same out of a set of TRP's. During the course of this season I should put on around 5,000 - 6,000 miles on them ... so 2 -3 pad changes during the winter. Time will tell, especially as things get a bit more grimy with road dirt from frosty mornings and other events.

My next addition is shoes. I've been riding for several years now in the winter and my feet freeze when it's 40 degrees and raining ... even with wool socks and thick bootie covers. So this year I decided I was going to try something different. I purchased a set of SIDI Hydro shoes. They have Gore-Tex lining to help keep the feet dry and much warmer. The fit is really good and it will be interesting to see if they help during the winter and during commutes when the rain "and" cold hits.

I have two more additions that need to be added to the bike ... a "Buddy Flap" for the rear fender, which is greatly appreciated by others during group rides.

The other addition will be a Stages Power Meter. I'm looking forward to this to keep track of my training and fitness during the winter. I'll better be able to track 20 minute and FTP power during the winter, which is something I haven't been able to do before.

Overall, I'm excited about the changes and the bike feels really good. Bring on Winter!!!

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