Now that I’ve finished with PC games (until Dragon Rising is released) I’ve found my thoughts returning to my attempt at cycle-commuting that lasted a very short time. The failure in hindsight is from my discomfort when riding my current setup and the unreliability of the equipment. Firstly the bike is not a good enough fit to me and my fingers will go numb (not from the cold), my feet will go numb (again not from the cold) and my shoulders hurt far too much. As someone who’s been a seasoned rider I know that this is not from poor technique on my part. It is poor fitment.
I remember how it all happened; now.
After commuting to my programming job in hail, shine or mist for 9 months I was hit by a car. It bent my wheels, forks and injured my shoulder. I was actually very lucky not to go under the vehicle or smash on a ‘keep left’ sign. Bikeless I rushed around looking for a tourer to replace my tange framed roadie. I bought the World Randonneur. I barely even tried it. It was fine commuting to that place of employment since it was only about 5kms each way.
That my friends is why it doesn’t fit. I was still partly in shock from being hit by a car and didn’t do a full measure-out session with the bike at the shop. Now I’m paying for it because it is no good for my long commute of 32kms each way.
So now I look back on my commuting failure (only 4 commutes in total) and realise what it was. Yes, it was a slow realisation (over 7 months).
With this realisation I have decided that a bike revision is required.
- Update my Gemini World Randonneur. Rohloff, mechanical disc brakes, buttefly handle bars and maybe a Brooks B17 saddle. Problems: no disk brake mounts on the frame. This means that either clamp on brackets or a welding-update would be required to mount the brakes. Cost estimate $2000+ (provided I could get the Rohloff for $1300)
- Felt X City 1. Aluminium frame, Alfine internal gear hub, hydraulic disc brakes. Extras required, bar-end grips or butterfly bars. Cost estimate, $1699
- Merida S-Presso I8-D. (almost same as 2. above) Cost estimate, $1499
- Charge Mixer. (almost same as above) Cost estimate, $1999
- Giant CRX City Pro. Comes with racks, Nexus premium hub otherwise same as other bikes. Cost estimate, $1799
- Trek Soho. Now this is an improvement to upright bikes. Belt-drive that needs no lubricants and is rated for five times service-life of a chain, Alfine internal gear hub but it has a roller brake on front that has a ‘governor’ in it (WTF?). I’d have to ask the staff if the governor could be removed because I find it a bit wrong-headed to limit the power of a brake. [It’s interesting to note people slamming belt drive for its greater energy losses than chains. They almost all forget that chains on derailleurs bikes run ‘bent’ where extra friction occurs and the tests have the chain running straight, clean and clean-lubed.] Cost estimate, $1999.
- The charge mixer looks to have a very twitchy frame geometry and that’s what the reviews confirm
- The Trek Soho is rather unappealing to look at and has the dodgy front roller-brake. I’d be happy to have a rear roller-brake since I use my rear brake as emergency, anyway. The unknown factor on how that governed front brake works is a put-off.
- Merida S-Presso seems to only come in brown… ewww.
- Felt X City has flashy stickers on it.
- Building up the World Randonneur may not solve my problems with it: those problems may be frame geometry.
So those are my deliberations for rectifying my bike problems. Comment if you have ideas.