A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘bicycle

Redline Conquest Cyclocross Bicycle

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I recently picked up a “new” bicycle, a Redline Conquest cyclocross bike.

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I’ve been wanting a more traditional bike for a while, mainly to use as a backup when I don’t want to ride my tri bike or for convenience when riding to the gym or pool, or in bad weather, etc. After going to a cyclocross race last year, I’ve been pretty determined to get a cyclocross bike because it will be more versatile for a number of different riding conditions, and so I can try ‘cross out at some point.

This Redline is from 2003 (I think). I got it from a member of my tri club who had also gotten it used, commuted with it for a bit a while ago, but hadn’t ridden it in years. I had to clean it, replace the brakes, tubes, tires, and pedals, and do some tuning to get it riding smoothly, but now it seems to work well and I’ve been putting some miles on it. I still might have to replace the cables and some other parts to adjust the fit/comfort, but it’s ride-able now as-is.

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I have a spare set of wheels from my old tri bike with road tires on (pictured directly above and in all below), and I put knobby tires on the wheelset that came with the bike (first pic at the top), so between the two I have convenient wheel/tire options for if I want to ride on or off road.

My only real complaints about it are that the saddle is uncomfortable for longer rides and that it has an 8-speed Shimano Sora groupset…

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Sora is a low end set of components and, combined with age, it doesn’t shift very smoothly. I’m going to live with it for a while because it is still functional, but I can see eventually making some upgrades based on what my riding style ends up being with it.

Overall I’m really happy to have gotten another bike and have enjoyed riding it. I actually did a 51 mile charity ride on it this weekend with the road tires and it went well.

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The tri bike will probably still be ridden 90% of the time, but I do anticipate riding this regularly in a number of situations. Though it would great to get a nice road bike at some point, too, all of my bicycle “needs” are more than taken care of.

Thanks a lot for reading – happy, and safe, riding!

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Written by Jim

June 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Cannondale Slice – My “New” Bike

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As mentioned in my previous post, I got a new bike! A member in my Tri Club got a new bike and sold me this – his old one – for a very cheap price. Though I’ve wanted to upgrade my Windsor, I wasn’t seriously shopping for a new bike, but I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

This is a Cannondale Slice 4. The previous owner told me he bought it in 2009 but looking around online I don’t think this color scheme was available until 2011, so maybe his memory is off by a year or two, or maybe my my online research skills aren’t the best. Either way, it doesn’t really matter much to me, the bike is a vast improvement over my old one.


(the Windsor, for reference, with my mismatched wheel set that’s now on the Slice)

The Windsor is aluminum, has a very basic shape and handle bars, more of a relaxed position, it’s a 9-speed, and just a very basic bike overall. I think I’ve done reasonably well with it and, if I’m going to be honest, it isn’t really limiting how well I’m performing, but for as seriously as I’m taking this “hobby” I’m justified in having a more capable ride.

The Cannondale is carbon, a 10-speed, quite a bit more aero, and just faster. I haven’t done a back to back comparison riding both of them, but I’ve been able to maintain higher speeds and have set quicker times over familiar routes than I was able to do with the Windsor. It also has return to center shifters, which I’m still adjusting to but like. Finally, I just like the way it looks! I don’t dislike the Windsor, it has a certain appeal to it, but I think the Slice looks cool, and in my opinion that’s important for enjoying a bike and getting the most out of it. It is old by today’s standards and quite dated, but I still like it and it’s a capable race machine for my purposes.

There are a few things about it that I’m adjusting to. It’s a bit smaller than the Windsor and I feel a little squished on it length wise. I have adjusted the front end out a bit, but if I go much more it adds too much tension to the cabling, so I’m taking time to adjust to it before making drastic changes. The crank arms are also a bit shorter (172.5mm vs. 175mm on the Windsor) and the chainrings are 150/134 vs 153/139 on the Cannondale, which has taken a little getting used to. My cadence tends to be a bit faster than I’m used to now. I’ve also found I am giving up a little speed going down hill, but on the level and going up hills the gearing and jumps between gears feel more comfortable and useful. I’m thinking about playing around with different chainrings to find what I’m most comfortable with, but will keep the bike like this for a while until I’m completely used to it. Overall I am comfortable on it and it is beginning to feel normal to me.

The first true test will be next weekend when I have my first race of the year. I want to be faster all around than I was last year but am hoping for a significant improvement on the bike leg due to the new bike and improved fitness. We will see. How it’s picture here is how I’ll race with it. I’ll use a Profile Design bottle between the arms and don’t need any other fluids for short sprint races (I do carry a bottle on the frame for training). The bag behind the saddle is small and not much of an aero penalty, I don’t think… there are better ways to carry your spares/tools, but for me this is convenient and good enough.

And, for now, I’m keeping the Windsor. I plan to use it as a trainer machine and for poor weather riding. I’m also contemplating putting road bars and shifters on it so I have a road bike instead of two tri bikes.

Well, thanks for reading! I’ll post a race report to share how the first one went.

Written by Jim

April 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

A New Bike

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I’ve finally upgraded my bicycle!

For the past five to six years I’ve ridden an early 80’s Panasonic Sport 500 10-speed (the link is about a duathlon, but I talked about the bike some too). It was a bit too small for me, weighed a shade under 30 pounds (that’s heavy in the bike world), and even in its day it would have just been an entry level economy bike. In short, it’s quite outdated and not “nice” in today’s terms. Still, it isn’t exactly a “bad” bike. It’s held up pretty well considering the tough miles I’ve put on it, it helped to get me interested in biking and I’ve learned a lot about bike maintenance and setup from it.

I’ve done a triathlon, two duathlons, and put on tons of training miles with the Panasonic, so feel that I’ve paid my dues and earned the right to upgrade to something more modern.

I picked up this bike used from craigslist a week and a half ago and so far am very pleased. It is a Royal Windsor Triathlon bike.

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If you don’t know and haven’t guessed, triathlon (or “time trial”) bikes are purpose built for triathlons and similar races (duathlons and time trials). Though different than road bikes in a number of ways, the two primary differences are that they put the rider in a more aerodynamic position, and they make the rider use their leg muscles slightly differently so that the legs aren’t as fatigued when it comes to the running stage in a race. When climbing hills the rider will typically sit upright with their hands on the outer bars, similar to a traditional bike, but on the flats and downhills the rider will lean forward and ride gripping the center bars with their elbows on the pads, which is a very aerodynamic position. The gear shifts are at the end of these bars for easy shifting without breaking the aero position. The seat post is also at more of an upright angle than a road bike’s which, aside from helping with the aero position, requires more use of the quads (front of the leg) to pedal and subsequently saves the hamstrings (back of the leg) for running.

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To be clear, the bike I got is about the cheapest triathlon bike out there. It is missing a lot of bells and whistles that nicer bikes have, it doesn’t have very aggressive geometry and is as “entry level” as these bikes come. I bought it without pedals so am still using my old pedals with straps from the Panasonic while I shop around for modern shoes and pedals.

Still, it’s awesome! Having only ridden a 30 year old bike before, this feels like a Rolls Royce in comparison. The ride is much smoother and I’m much more comfortable on it. It’s much lighter, too. As equipped it weighs about 22 pounds, which is still no light weight, but it’s significantly lighter than what I’m used to and those pounds definitely make a difference out on the road.

Most importantly, it’s much faster. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I’m much faster on it. I’ve only been able to do three rides so far, but each has been faster than the last and all have been much faster than I was ever able to do on my old bike. Whether going up or down hills, and even when doing longer distances there’s no comparison, it’s just faster. I ran following two of my rides as well and that went much better than before with the Panasonic. My time wasn’t anything special for the first run, but I did feel fresher and my legs never bothered me, then on the second run I actually ran my fastest 5k time ever, which is pretty amazing considering I had just done a bike ride.

Overall I’m very pleased. I don’t think I’ll be able to make any more races this year, but I’ll enjoy riding it and training, and hopefully next year I can race more.

Thanks for reading and happy pedaling!

Written by Jim

July 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm