Thursday, October 23, 2008

Small Changes

Yes, I'm restless by nature, and so things don't stay the same for very long. But we're getting to the point where things are so perfect that any change would be absurd.

First change: I received some Shimano PD-A520 pedals today. I hadn't intended to put them on Niles, but they were just so nice and shiny that I had to consider it. The fact that they have slightly more cornering clearance than the TA track pedals, and the upturned clips don't scratch on the ground pre-clip-in, also helped. I've never ridden a fixed gear with clipless pedals — perhaps the "mystical union" of bike and rider will be even more pronounced. I've been extremely busy with work lately, but I'll try to get out for a ride this weekend and see how I like them.

Naturally, I removed the Shimano logo from the side. I have nothing against them as a company, of course — take these fine pedals, for example. But with the exception of certain inherently beautiful logos, it's my policy to remove them if possible. The Shimano logo is quite plain, so off it went. It was very easy to remove: just some Simichrome vigorously rubbed. I've learned my lesson about calling such things too soon, but I'm pretty sure these pedals aren't anodized. In any case, they're shiny and beautiful. (And a very smart design, too — they place your foot low relative to the axle, and prevent "hot spots.")

Second change: gearing. The only fixed ratios I've ever ridden are 42x15 and 42x16. I like both, but for long rides 42x15 is beter. Motivated mostly by my aesthetic distaste for my chainring, though, I began to think I'd like something between the two gears. I also thought I might as well use larger rings for less friction and less chain tension (my rear hub has been wandering a bit), and also to make things look more "proportional" on my 62cm frame. So, to bring this tale to its conclusion, I got a new chainring and a new rear cog: 48x18. The rear cog is another Phil Wood (though a 1/8") and the front ring is a Spécialités TA. I think it will be a nice match to the rest of the bike. It's pictured on the right. (I lifted the photo from World Class Cycles, where I ordered all my stuff from. Their service is incredible and they have great prices.)

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