Friday, 31 March 2017

Cornering like a beast

I'm not sure I've ever paid attention to my cornering speed before, not overly anyway. Not that I can re-call.

Just today I rode an errand to my local collect+ petrol station to collect some new tyres (ironically) and it dawned on me that I seem to be hitting round abouts and corners really quite fast.

I don't really know what this is all about, is it the frame, the tyres, confidence, the conditions?

I noticed it the other day too, just on a random commute, really feeling the corners, getting a good lean and carrying some good pace.

So I ride a 2016 Allez, shed with Conti Gatorskins. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The Gators have done over 3000 miles and will be swapped out very shortly. Am I missing a trick here, surely this is false confidence on a heavily warn tyre.

Those two little holes which are tread checkers on Conti's are barely there, I can see them but only just.

I did read an article about the 2016 Allez having the same geometry as the Tarmac, perhaps this is the connection with the road I'm feeling. I've never ridden a Tarmac so can't clarify.

I like this comment:

'Although 2mm shorter between the wheels, this bike shares much of its geometry with Specialized’s more readily raced S-Works Tarmac, with identical head tube, chainstay and fork dimensions.'

So a short wheelbase and a racy geometry. I used to ride a Giant TCR and I'm sure I never noticed cornering like this, honestly that bike might actually have been to small for me so potentially not a fair comparison. That said at some point, it was ridden with Gatorskins.

I do recall falling on ice when cornering a few years back which murdered my confidence to the point of slowing for a corner in all but the driest of conditions, perhaps I'm just now finding my cornering nads again.

Anyway, whatever, never cared about the science of things. I'm just really loving this bike and its ability to be thrown into corners at will.

I wonder if changing the tyres will make a difference.....

Monday, 13 March 2017

5000 miles and running. LBS Save.

I love this bike.

5000 miles done, since I bought it in July of last year. It's been my only bike. I've ridden it through all conditions. Rain, wind, -7 temps and it's been spot on every time. It's not had many upgrades, just efficient ones. 1 set of Ultegra wheels, one set of Swiss Stop brake pads. That's literally it.

I rode through winter on the original wheels that the bike came with, upon hitting 3k and a spoke pinging off, leading to another spoke pinging off and my LBS telling me 'You've got like 3 weeks on these' the Ultegra wheels are now a permanent fixture.

At 5000 miles ridden, I felt like the chain and cassette were long overdue for replacement. I'm fairly sure the manufacturer would recommend less miles before swap out but I wanted to hit that 5k mile stone. So I did.

So new 105 chain and cassette. Like for like replacements. A good clean up was had too. I hate cleaning, I really do but this Muc-off kit really did the job. Esp that drive chain cleaner, spot on that stuff.

This is my idea of giving the bike a service prior to the summer months. A good clean and a chain and cassette replacement. That'll do. 

Now I don't really like doing this type of stuff, I know its not difficult, I'd just rather someone else did it for me. So I had 2 spare pins, just in case I ruined one whilst fitting the pin on my chain. Or did I. seems Shimano have gone all Apple on us. 10s pins are not compatible with 11s chains. Yay. Obviously I buggered the one pin I had and my worst fears came true. I couldn't fit the chain. Such a simple procedure......

I have a couple of bike shops near me, both cracking shops with exceptional product. It's the little things though right. I call both because I need a replacement pin, a 2 minute job at best. I do realise this isn't the mount Everest of problems or a high priority but do you want my custom? One is too busy, the mechanic has work booked up til 9pm, apparently. The other said 'yeah bring it in', so I did. 

'I'll do it now bud, it'll take me longer to book it in than it will to do the work'. 5 mins later and £2 for a replaceable link. JOB DONE. Now that's what I'm talking about. 

It's not even about the chain, it's about where I'll now take my bike for servicing. It's about where I'll now go as my first port of call. It's further away but it's worth it because it feel's like they gave a sh*t. Nicely done. 

So the bike is ready for the ever improving weather and its next 5000 miles. Let's go!