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Daily Archives: May 24, 2014

Shimano 105 Operating Instructions?

To the person who searched the web for Shimano 105 operating instructions…

First, thanks for visiting my blog. Welcome, and I hope you found everything you were looking for and you have a great time on your new bike. Ride the wheels off of it!

However, you may want to visit a couple of my other pages:

First, my Noob’s Guide to Cycling and then my Maintenance page.

You have a lot to learn Grasshopper, good luck.

The Number One Reason to Buy the Best Bike You Can Afford…

There are a lot of opinions out there about high-end bikes vs. entry-level bikes vs. Big Box specials (Huffy, etc.).  When I started cycling, I was into only my fourth year of owning my business.  The five year mark is a big milestone – something like 95% of small businesses fail in the first five years, and I can guarantee you, I don’t want to go back to working for someone else so I kept every extra penny I could in my company. 

I was making decent money but we didn’t have the cash to drop on what I thought was an expensive ($1,500) bike.  I started off with a $400 used bike I found on Craigslist to see if I’d even like road cycling, I already loved mountain biking and triathlon but I wasn’t sure how that would translate to the road.  Within two months of having that first road bike I was hooked but it was too small (I ride a 56-59 cm frame and I had a 54 – noob mistake).  I bought my Trek 5200 shortly thereafter (a 58 cm frame), used, from the local bike shop (it was their loaner) and put a lot of love into that 13-year-old, full carbon, bike.  I spent hours cleaning it up, repairing chipped paint and tearing it down and regreasing everything.  While it is used and old, it is a legitimate race bike and it was absolutely the best I could afford at the time.  I paid $750 for it (not bad for a 20 pound bike with the full line of Ultegra components).

Then came my Specialized Venge, the bike I splurged on.  Now, the leap could be made that I could have saved $1,100 if I just went all out and picked up the Venge first but what can’t be argued was that the money was not wasted.  First, now my wife (who is 2″ shorter than I am) has a great rain bike (the Cannondale) and I have a tremendous rain bike in the Trek, that I’m comfortable on and know my way around.

That said, when you take into account all of the money I’ve put into cycling over the last three years, we’re talking about a pretty penny (or 800,000).  First, I don’t look at any one of those pennies as wasted and here’s why:  I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t cheat, don’t lie… I eat right and work hard.  I deserve one thing to splurge on. Due to the choice to take up cycling, I’m so fit that at my last checkup my doctor said:  “Jim, whatever it is you’re doing, just keep doing it”.  This didn’t occur by accident or just because I have good genes (I do)…  It’s because I took a need to be active and a mid-life celebration (others call it a “crisis”, but considering my past, reaching anything beyond 30 is a miracle so I’m celebrating mid-life). Finally, cycling is just a cool hobby and if you’re going to drop some cash on a hobby, cycling is cheap compared to most adult hobbies.

Now where this can become controversial is with the type of bike I chose for my “A” bike, the Venge. The Venge is a straight up aero race bike. It has, by necessity, a stiff frame. As I do not race, have no desire to and the only thing I enjoy more than a good 100k ride is a good 100 miles and at an overall average pace of 21-22 mph, we’re not exactly burning up the roads… to put it simply, one of the squishy bikes (AKA endurance bikes) like a Trek Domane or a Specialized Roubaix probably would have made more practical sense. Without getting into the minutiae of the type of carbon used on my Venge’s frame (which is a bit more forgiving than the S-Works frame), those who hold that view have a point.

There’s one small factor that changes the whole, entirely: Desire. To call what happened occurred when I first laid eyes on my Venge “love at first sight” wouldn’t be right or fair to my wife. It was more like “lust”. If I was going to blow a bunch of money on a nice bike, not only did I want a comfortable ride, I wanted something that I liked to look at as well… And that’s exactly what I got. The Venge, for me, is the perfect balance of speed, comfort and sexy.

So everything considered, what’s the Number One reason to drop some coin on a nice bike?

Because I love me – and I’m worth it.