Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mercian is finished!

The completed K.O.M. on a recent ride around Folsom Lake

It's been almost 7 months since the Mercian frame arrived, (and a year since the order was placed). I think I now have the bike finished to my satisfaction. Oh, I'm not saying I'll never add or change anything from here, but I feel I have got the combination that will work well for years. Here is a summary of recent changes and additions.

 Front end shot showing the Dimension 17 degree stem and Noodle bars.

A friend recently offered me a Nitto "Noodle" handlebar. I haven't been entirely happy with the feel of the Cinelli Giro d' Italia bars, so I decided to try these. After getting past the sort-of weird look of the bend of the flats of the bars, (they sweep back towards the rider on top), I have grown fond of these. The ramps, the portion just above the brake levers, is flatter than the Cinelli's, I find this very comfortable. The unusual bend of the upper bar also fits the hands quite well when you're climbing. I also changed the Velo Orange, (V.O.), 6 degree stem with an 11cm 17 degree stem from Dimension. This gave me a comfortable position while also improving the look. I like look of the classic "7" shape stem.

 Sora 8 speed indexed shifters.

I switched from the Dia Compe ENE friction type shift levers to an 8 speed indexed Shimano Sora lever. The reason for this is a little embarrassing; As my hearing has become rather degraded, it's become difficult to "trim" the rear derailleur by sound. I would often find the drive train skipping as I increased pressure on it in climbing! I finally gave up and after some searching was able to find these Sora levers. They're not bad and relatively inexpensive. I haven't missed a shift with them yet!

 V.O. compact double crank and Shimano A520 pedals.

I decided to install the V.O. 50.4 BCD crank onto my LHT, since that bike would need lower gearing than this one. In it's place I installed a more conventional 110 BCD compact double, another V.O. product. With rings of 48 and 34 teeth, and a 11-28 in the back, I should have low enough gears for most any hill I encounter. I've also installed Shimano A520 platform SPD pedals. These afford a bit more support to my foot, and they look pretty nice, too! Their only detraction would be having only a single side rather than the double sides of a mountain bike pedal.

Overall shot. I've also re-installed the V.O. saddle and Ritchey seat post.