So, the final swap over to gears was made. This was the plan all along, but it took me awhile to gather all the parts I wanted for the switch. The "Orange Crush" machine works really great as a single speed though, so at some point I may return it to that configuration.
I had thought about going with Campy stuff that I had, but a wheel would have been necessary. It would have needed to have been built up, or purchased as a pre-built. Then I would have had the derailleur for the rear to buy as well. That was going to be a hassle and financial constraints at this time called for a more prudent choice. That ended up being Shimano stuff I scored from a customer of the shop for cheap. Here's the breakdown of what went on:
- Shimano "non-series" crank NOS, compact drive, 50T/34T w/ Shimano bottom bracket.
- Shimano Ultegra 9spd "brifters". Older model, but also NOS
- Shimano Ultegra long cage rear derailleur, (Saved from a crash into a rear wheel by my straightening-free)
- SRAM 12-32 cassette. I had it already, source unknown.
- Bontrager "Race" rear wheel. (Swapped for something a long time ago, can't remember what.)
- Shimano STX top pull front derailleur, shimmed to fit. (I had it. Works perfectly w/brifters)
- SRAM PC 930 chain. New.
- Necessary cables and housing. New.
The performance of the new stuff was awesome. No issues at all with any of it. (Although I do not remember shifting the front derailleur for the entire 65 miles. I might have, but I just don't know.)
Interestingly enough, I had a big difference in braking performance with the new levers and a fresh pad set up. These brakes are twice as powerful as they were before, and I am very satisfied with that. They were somewhat marginal before, and noisey.
The new set up also allowed me to ditch the drop out adjusters, since I want the wheel as far back as I can get it. This maximizes tire clearance and gets me the longest possible wheel base for stability. It worked well, by the way, and was tested in the powdery gravel and deep fresh chunk on the course Saturday.
The other thing that I am "signing off" on as a success is the frame bag stuffed with the 70oz Camelbak bladder. That worked really well for me without any special fussing around with gadgetry to get the job done. I simply just let the hose dangle over the handle bar from underneath and looped it together with the bite valve. I did not really need to do the loop, as the weight of the bite valve kept the hose hanging there just fine, but it was a safety measure, I suppose!
My only concern is that the GEAX Barro Race tires are a really tight fit up front, and if DK 200 gets wet, I don't think it will work real well. I could swap out the Bontrager XR-1's and I may do that and see if it gains me anything. The UST bead on the GEAX tire is a bear cat to mount on the rear wheel too, so that may be the way to go, or just go tubeless. Hmm....
More decisions to come. Look for my "Renegade Gents Race" report tomorrow.
Snow Dog Down Count: 39 days and counting.......