My Rivendell Atlantis on the back porch
On my tour last year I finally got pretty definitive proof that the SPDs were not good for my knees. I’ve always used these Shimano pedals that were flat on one side and SPD on the others, as I believe that one needs to be able to mix it up. Well after some initial knee pain I stopped using the SPD altogether and it went away. So after some further experimentation on returning from tour I decided to switch permanently to flat. I was just going to get a reasonably priced pair of MKS pedals but my parents wanted some ideas for what to get me for x-mas so I added a pair of Rivendells Grip Kings to the list. And they got them for me. Beautiful pedals and very light, which I was kind of surprised by. Alas when I tried to mount them I found my right crank threads had been stripped. I think I did this myself when I had mounted an old pair of flats I had lying around, but possibly it was just from thousands of miles of use. So this was the main part that I ended up having to wait on. I decided to just replace the entire crankset and ordered a new set of Sugino XD2s from Rivendell.
My Rivendell Atlantis drivetrain
I had to wait about a week before the cranks arrived and then a few more days till the weekend where I’d have time to work on it. I was pleased to see about US$40 dollars were deducted from there order courtesy of my Rivendell refund. Thanks guys! I had also gotten a crank puller in this order so I thought I was set. I found it a lot harder to pull these cranks then the descriptions from various websites and books gave me. I guess they were a bit bound to the axle after so much use. The drive side “dust cap” was especially hard to remove and I ended up getting a new larger 8mm hex wrench that made it a lot easier. Off though the cranks did come. While these were off I felt I should take advantage of this and try to protect my chainstay some. I don’t know what the deal with these Sugino cranks is but they seem to drop the chain more then any other crankset I’ve used. I still like em as cranks, their other advantages outweigh this, but the upshot is my chainstay has been flayed. I wish I’d protected it when I first got the bicycle but I didn’t even really consider this that big of an issue. Well live and learn. So with the cranks off, I sanded the areas that had lost paint, covered this with clear nail polish and then wrapped the entire chainstay in yellow bar-tape and tied it off with twine.
While I was cleaning the chainstay and bottom bracket I noticed that the little plastic tube that my left shifter cable ran through was gone. It had worn through and fallen off. This explained, I thought, why shifting had become much more difficult for my front derailleur. So I decided that at this juncture I should replace that tube and while I was at it the cables and shifters. One of my regrets I’ve had since ordering this bicycle was that I didn’t get the Silver Shifters that Rivendell had made. I felt at the time that I was changing so much at once in my bicycle setup that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add friction only shifting to the list. Well when I got the bicycle I found the indexing was a little off. Instead of adjusting it I just switched to friction and I immediately adapted to it. My old ten speed was friction only anyway. So almost immediately I wished I’d gotten the Silver Shifters as they are much more stylish and are supposed to be the pinnacle of friction shifting. So I eventually bought a pair but was waiting to a point when I’d replace the cables to put them on. Well this was that moment so along with all the other changes I put on new shifters, cables and the little plastic tubes under the bottom bracket. Also while I was doing all this work I slapped a few more coats of shellack onto the handlebar tape as it was wearing off. Probably need to re-tape these, but I’d like to wait till spring.
So with all the changes complete Sunday evening it was time to do adjustments. I rode around my neighborhood in deep twilight and adjusted derailleur cable and did some final tightening on the cranks and pedals. Oh and I readjusted this new(ish) mirror that I’ve been using the last couple of months. I’m coming around on the use of mirrors, but I still don’t like the loss of handlebar real estate. Plus it interferes with sliding ones hands up the bars from the shifting end to the braking end. Sometimes its nice to do that without letting go of the bars. Anyway everything was feeling great, I loved the Grip Kings and the Silver Shifters especially. Tomorrow would be the first real ride on my commute to work.
My ride to work is only 5.5 miles but it has about two miles uphill to start. Two things became immediately clear on this initial bit of climbing: one was the Grip Kings felt great under the feet, though you had to keep your feet pretty perpendicular to them. The second was that my shifters were not holding the derailleurs in place. I wasn’t sure if I’d screwed up the installation, if the cable was stretching or what. I was hoping that I just hadn’t tightened them enough. At work with limited tools all I could try was the tightening, as they just have this little ring you can tighten them with. I did so before setting out home that night. Well that worked, they were both a bit loose and were easily hand tightened a turn or so. And now everything was perfect, the shifters a dream to use, the replaced drive train smooth, sure and almost silent. For the first time in almost a year everything is right on the bicycle. I can’t wait for the first long ride!