Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bye bye Dura Ace

When I bought my first (and still current) road bike I knew that it had enjoyed a rather 'lively' existance before becoming a part of my modest stable. It had Dura Ace durrelier and front crankset and Ultegra brifters and front changer, and there's no way that kind of kit would be within my budget if it wasn't nearing the end of the gracefully elegant shiny phase of its existence. Part of the reason I got such a good price was that there was a noticeable ker-grun-chunk in the drive chain somewhere. The silvery cap on one of the shifters was missing long before I became custodian of this fine machine, and I gaffa-taped down the other silvery cap to stop it rattling. 

I sort of got used to the various noises of mechanical discourtesy the gentlest of bimbles would audibly reveal from my beloved machine. If other riders asked what all the noises were I told them it was my knees. 

Things came to a head during this year's Dunwhich Dynamo when I found I couldn't use the biggest three cogs on the rear cassette without the drive chain slipping like a Grifter in 'slip gear' and making a sound like a rusty chainsaw with engine trouble cutting through an antique mantrap (complete with antique man). Folk laughed sheepishly as they hurtled past me up modest hills and I feared for my chum plums every time I rose from my saddle. 

I took the bike in for a bit of a tickle from my friendly local bike doctor and he confirmed what I already feared - the cassette, chain and front cranks had less life in them than a mortuary waiting room after lights out. There's simply no way I could keep up with the financial pace of Dura Ace so all the knackered parts were replace with bits from the spares box (including a steel crank!), but the Dura Ace crank arms remain. 

So now my bike may be a little uglier, and a little heavier, but my god is it silent!  I LOVE it!  It really is like having a new bike! Smoooooth!