Saturday, 10 October 2009

What I did next... March 2008

After being totally smitten with the cycling bug, browsing the net and buying cycling mags it dawned upon me that my 31lb of GT Nomad hybrid bike was NOT cool and was NOT what I needed for the hills - erm slight inclines that resembled mountains that I rode around my locality...

I wasn't aware of any LBS so I browsed the web looking for something that would be good for a newbie such as moi.
Wiggle has lots of bikes to choose from, so not knowing much about wheels, groupsets, frame materials etc. I sort of went ini - meni - myni - mo - this - one - shall - be - it.... no too expensive, again, ini - meni - myni - mo - this - one - shall - be - it, no thats too cheap, ini - meni - myni - mo - this - one - shall - be - it, hmmph that looks OK, now do I want a triple, compact or a double?? browse the BikeRadar forums and find it's a popular question, and the general answer? a compact, so a compact it is. So what bike did I finally settle on and buy?

This bike pictured below, a Focus Variado Expert 2008,

  • Alloy 6061 light racing frame
  • New Shimano Ultegra Ice grey
  • New Truvativ Elita compact crankset
  • Shimano RS 20 wheelset
  • Michelin Lithion Tyres, 23-622
  • Weight: 8.7kg (size 56 without pedals)
When this big, no - huge - box arrived I couldn't wait to get the bike out of the box and get it on the road. Prior to the bikes arrival I had bought some 105 pedals and a pair of Shimano SPD SL shoes so after the pedals were fitted and the bars attached it was ready to ride. I took it out on a short 6 mile ride and the impression I came away with was how fast, responsive and easy to ride compared to my 31lb hybrid - but then again any bike that weighs less than the hybrid would feel fantastic!!

I have come to really like this bike, it's not much of a looker but it's fairly light and after a saddle change from the standard Velo razor blade via a Specialized Alias that was too flat across the profile causing numb bits'n'bobs I finally arrived at a Sella Italia Max Flite Gel Flow in black which whilst not perfect for the posterior is leagues ahead in comfort value for my bum than the previous two saddles.

The only other change has been to swap out the 110mm stem for a 100mm I felt my reach was just slightly too much. Besides my bum ache I had another problem, for the first year or so on the Focus, my neck gave me a lot of pain 3 hrs into a ride and that's with maximum stem spacers, the stem turned upside down and the bars tilted upwards slightly, so before any 3hr+ ride I had to take a couple of paracetamols to alleviate the pain, that plan of action worked tremendously. Recently, probably because of the time on the bike over the last year, my neck seems to have gotten used to the position so no need for the pain killers anymore with the result that I have been able to return the stem to its normal position and take out some spacers.

So that's it, that's where I'm up to bike wise. What I have done with this bike is subject to my next blog entry...

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