Today I'll be spending a lot of time inside this red steel, plastic, and rubber cocoon going up to the Twin Cities and back again. It all has something to do with Shimano. I'll know more when I get back, but how much I'll be able to talk about, I do not know yet. Stay tuned.....
This might sound ironic, but I am not a huge fan of the actual traveling bit. Not by automobile, and definitely not by aeroplane. Maybe I have some of my Grandpa in me. He never went anywhere! Well, not as long as I knew him, he didn't. Not sure why that was.....
But, be that as it may, traveling gets you to do things, see places, and most importantly- meet people, you otherwise would not get to. So, I always weigh the traveling against those factors, and try to see what comes out in the balance. This particular trip better be a good one! That's all I'm saying right now. I had to cut back on one attractive facet of it already, which made the whole deal distasteful right out of the gate. That and having to set up all the scheduling with work, family, and my other goings on. So, we'll see later.
Three Strikes: Okay, so what's the deal with SRAM DoubleTap shifters? I know of three that have had the shift levers just fall off now. Three. Makes me think something isn't quite right there. I mean, I haven't heard of any big, catastrophic failures with STI levers or Campy Ergo shifters, for that matter. Not that it doesn't happen, but when a SRAM shift lever falls off, it means you are relegated to high gear in whatever ranges you have up front. Not too appealing of a scenario, especially for gravel travel, where I would likely use such shifters.
Methinks I will be staying away from those until something is done to address that issue. Besides, I don't even have the proper gear to run the stuff anyway, so in the end, it isn't a big deal for me. Maybe those of you with SRAM stuff may want to keep an eye on that, just in case.
And Speaking Of STI...Has anyone got an opinion on the newer STI levers? I'll give you mine: They stink! Well, compared to the old ones they do. The old ones with the "non-aero" cabling. Those were "easy-peasey" to change cables on, had a neat, clean appearance, and were reliable as the day was long. The newer ones have absolutely gone backwards in every way, with the possible exception of reliability. Cabling is overly complex, and the appearance looks incomplete. Shimano needs to do something about this, especially the brake cable re-fitting. It is just stupid compared to the previous generation shifters. The shifter cables? Well, they are no better, actually, now that I think of it. New STI? Fail. If the old STI came out after this newest generation we would all be jumping for joy, that's how much better it is.
And More On Drop Bar Levers! While I am on the subject of drop bar levers, I came across something interesting yesterday. An older Cannondale touring bike came in with a set of Magura hydraulic drop bar levers and brakes. You remember those Magura brakes that Tomac used and the trials guys are crazy about? Same ones actuated by a Magura drop bar lever. I know some guys are huge fans of these brakes, but I don't particularly care for the clunky look and funky set up. What is cool is that it reminds me of what we're going to start seeing really soon- drop bar hydraulic STI/DoubleTap shifters. I know, I know.......there are cable actuated hydro-box-dohickeys. They are a kludge too. Don't think so? Then tell me why folks keep trying to hide the master cylinders under their stems and in front of the head tubes? I'll tell you why- because it looks stupid and everyone wants it to be part of the lever, that's why. I believe it will happen, and when it does, the Fargo, Badger, Gryphon, and Karate Monkey will be getting switched over at some point.