Monday, January 16, 2017

If You Have Time To Lean.....

Part 1 of the swap session completed
The cold and flu season has caught up with us here at Guitar Ted Laboratories. So, I haven't been out on the bicycle of late, trying to recover and all, ya know. So, I kind of feel like I haven't been doing what I should be doing. My bikes have been leaning, not moving. And you know what they say about when you have time to lean.

So, I was just sent some brakes and shifters from Gevenalle. The package came with a front derailleur as well. Now the plan was set all along that this stuff was going on the Tamland. That meant that I would be removing a full brake set, front derailleur, and shifters. Avid and Ultegra stuff. Nice stuff that works pretty well.

So, that stuff couldn't just sit around and lean either. What to do? Well, I came up with a plan. See, there is another bicycle I have that has SRAM on it and, well, I just do not think that SRAM road stuff is very good. I held off judgment on it until I had a lot of rides on the stuff, but I can say that, for me, the SRAM road stuff is slower shifting, feels clunky compared to Shimano, and worse, the levers are much harder to actuate from the drops than Shimano's are.

Now I had almost everything I needed to switch the Twin Six Standard Rando to Shimano from SRAM. Everything but a rear derailleur and a crank set. Okay, well it just so happens that I had a slightly defective long cage Ultegra rear derailleur in the bin. I looked at it and sure enough, I was able to get it to be perfectly functional. The crank? Well, that isn't going to be critical to overcoming my complaints, so that stays.......for the time being. 
Old school, reliable, and actually lighter than the Ultegra one.

 Well, enough about that, what about the Raleigh? Well, as long time blog readers here probably know, I really have enjoyed the Gevenalle, (formerly Retroshift), shifters, which ironically enough, cannot be shifted from the drops! That fact doesn't escape me, but I have learned to be able to execute shifts and return to the drops just fine, not unlike going to a downtube shifter and back. A step backwards? Perhaps. It used to be called Retroshift after all.

But they are dead simple not only in execution, but also in ease of use, and quite forgiving of inclement conditions. Stick your Gevenalle shifter into a mud hole when you crash, and you can get up and go with the confidence that the sifters not only survived, but work flawlessly. Now from where I sit, that isn't a common occurrence, but copious amounts of gritty dust? That's a commonly seen issue, and Gevenalle shifters are pretty much impervious to dust and grit.

Now they have mated the shifter to a TRP hydraulic drop bar lever. Hydraulic brakes? Yes. They are not 100% necessary, this is true, but they are easier to use. Less effort at the lever for better braking power? As a mechanic who has pulled wrenches for 20 + years, I'll take that advantage. I bet those who are dead tired on a ride and have to negotiate a 35mph downhill on loose gravel will also appreciate the easy modulation of a disc brake using hydraulic fluids. How these hold up, actually work in the field, and how they stack up ergonomically are things I am interested in discovering.

Stay tuned on that.

But the weekend wasn't a complete wash because I was sick, and now, well........I cannot wait to get out riding again!


kev said...

i'm very interested in your findings with this test. i've been looking at trekking bikes lately and many of them are outfitted with barend shifters and cable disc brakes. i know touring riders are partial to these older techs but as a mtn biker, it's hard for me to settle for mechanicals when dropbar hydros available. maybe these are the solution to get the better brakes without the more delicate STI levers... not that i have ever broken an STI lever....

Guitar Ted said...

@kev- Yeah, you will get a lot of folks saying that "broken/failed STI levers are a myth", but as a mechanic, I see all the issues. Most common is the derailleur cable breaking off inside the shifter, but add dirt and dust in copious amounts, well.....

STI was never meant to be used that way and when the guts of a Shimano road shifter get dried up and gritty, things start to misbehave. You can take your STI and risk it, or have a fail-safe type shifter in the Gevenalle one. That's how I see that falling out.

S Sprague said...

Did you make any stem length adjustments to the Raleigh to compensate for the length of the TRP brake hoods? They look pretty long but maybe it's just me. Are they similar in length to others? These are on my list for converting a 29er mtb.


Guitar Ted said...

@S Sprague- I'm holding off judgment until I get a proper ride in, but yes- they are longer by a bit than the old Ultegra levers which were on there. By the way, the shot I used for the post exaggerates this to a degree, so I get why you are seeing that.

kev said...

Thanks for the feedback, GT. i'll be interested to hear your thoughts on hydros for treking, as well. i see the Raleigh has such hydraulic brakes, hopefully they prove to be reliable.

S Sprague said...

Thanks GT!
I kinda figured there was some visual exaggeration. Will be interested to hear your thoughts after some miles on them. I always loved the simplicity of the shifters and loved my Paul Thumbies when I was running 9 speed.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear you have been sick Mark.

The Hylex levers we build our system into are a bit longer than a set of STI. Generally a move to a bar with a shorter reach or downsizing a stem will more than make up for this. If your hands are not on the smaller size the extra space can be a welcome plus.

Part of the reason for the extra length is as a result of a very clever feature that these levers possess. The master cylinder that is housed in the brake levers is fully accessible and can be removed. As it is not a physical art of the brake body and lever this allows us to do something very important to us should you crash and damage your brakes. WE CAN FIX THEM! The relatively inexpensive lever and plastic brake body can be tossed and new ones provided as the master cylinder is pretty safe from damage inside its protective coat. We currently provide a repair service of this model of $34. Much easier to stomach than a new Shimano R785 lever (Anyone have a price for one of these yet?).
Cheers, Adam/Gevenalle

Unknown said...

Oops! I knew I should have left commenting to someone else. I goofed on repair service pricing for the hydraulic. It is actually $74 (including shipping to mainland USA).
Apologies all. Adam

S Sprague said...


Very awesome of you to post up about your brakes!