SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Comparing Bikes

JimG moves towards Marshall
Last weekend I rode the San Francisco Randonneurs 200k brevet on my Bridgestone RB-1. As usual, I had a great time riding that bike -- for some reason I always feel stronger and faster on it than any other bike I own. I recently swapped in a 13-28 7spd cassette for a little extra oomph on the hills, and that only made things better.

I also have an Austro-Daimler Vent Noir that I've rebuilt with Shimano Ultegra 3x9spd STI parts. With respect to the rider interface (saddle/bars/pedals), this bike is set up extremely similarly to the RB-1...yet for some reason I never feel as quick on this bike as I do on the Bridgestone.

I'm gonna try to find out why...

While doing some bike-maintenance a couple of months ago, I had the front wheels off of both of these bikes, and was kinda surprised to find that the RB-1's front wheel (old Ultegra 600 hub, laced with 14/15g spokes 32x to a non-eyeleted Ritchey Comp rim, shod with a Continental Ultra 2000 700x23 folding tire) felt like it weighed significantly less than the Vent Noir's wheel (Ultegra hub, laced with 14/15g spokes 32x to a Mavic Open Pro rim, shod with a Hutchinson Excel 700x23 folding tire). Lighter wheels definitely make a bike feel more sporty, so I'm going to focus there first.

Hopefully before this weekend's ride, I'm going to swap the wheels around on the two bikes. The RB-1 will get the Open Pros and the Vent Noir will get the Ritcheys. The RB-1 has a 7spd rear end and the Vent Noir is 9spd, so I'll have to fudge things a bit to get everything to work properly. Mounting a 7spd cassette on a 9spd wheel is easy, I just need to find or make a 4.5mm spacer to fill in the gap. Mounting 9spds on a 7spd freehub is harder, supposedly you can do the 8 of 9 on 7 trick, using 8 cogs from a 9spd cassette on a shorter 7spd freehub, so I'll try that, along with some derailleur adjustments. One wheel is spaced at 126mm while the other is 130mm, but both frames are steel so a little squeezing will be OK (the RB-1 is actually spaced to 128mm, and while the Vent Noir seems to have 130mm spacing, its original rear wheel is actually 126mm -- go figure).

On the other hand...maybe I should just try swapping tires betwixt the two bikes first...


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