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An Update on My Trek’s Drivetrain; A Most Exciting Turn of the Crank…

I’ve got 103 miles on the Trek since I first reported changing around my rear derailleur and drivetrain to all Shimano (with the exception of the chain rings and chain – the chainrings will stay, the chain, read on). Some hard miles, too, including Friday’s push into an ugly headwind to ride the tailwind home, often hitting speeds of 35-mph (56 kph) and Sunday Funday which turned into a hot mess of awesome by the time we pulled into the driveway.

The derailleur was the difference maker – the old one having been worn out, but switching the drivetrain to a mix of 105 and Ultegra, but all Shimano, was the cherry on top.

I haven’t missed a shift since, and it’s been a long time since I could say that with the Trek. My 5200 is back to running like a well-oiled lubed machine again and the more I ride it, the more I enjoy it. Unfortunately, however, that wasn’t quite the end of the Trek’s problems. It had developed a creak. At first I thought it was in the steering assembly but I had that tightened perfectly to the point 1/8th a turn tighter would have the steering start catching mildly. When that didn’t work, I thought maybe it’d be grit in the bottom bracket bearings but I cleaned that out beautifully and it still creaked… I’d tried everything to stop the creaking until I got the idea that maybe the headset bearings weren’t lubed well enough the last time I took it in for a tutorial on how my Chris King threaded headset worked (it’s very ingenious and exceptionally tricky – and definitely a topic for another l-l-l-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-g post)… I was torn between taking the steering assembly apart or messing with the bottom bracket bearings when I finally decided to start with the steering assembly and go from there. On taking everything apart and inspecting the bearings, there was no lube on the fork’s bottom race (where the bearing sits). None. This is one of the most critical places on a bike to lube. So while I was in there, I slathered a goodly amount of lube on the race and the upper and lower bearings and put everything back together. Before I tested it out, though, it was also time for a new chain. I’d ordered a Shimano Ultegra/Dura-Ace chain and two KMC reusable Missing Links last week from Jenson’s (I love Jenson USA) and figured while I was at it, I’d put the new chain on as well (and the old chain was about ten miles from being shot anyway, according to my chain wear indicator tool).

I degreased the chain, installed it and lubed it with my new favorite, Squirt wax based chain lube and let it sit to dry while tending to my wife’s bike (cleaned the bottom bracket, new chain, cleaned the crankset). I took the 5200 out for the test-ride last evening. It was glorious. Not a single creak and the shifting, now that all of the componentry is Shimano 105/Ultegra, was every bit as good as the shifting on the Venge. It was perfect.

Now I’ve really got a dilemma in trying to figure out which bike to ride… And that’s my kind of dilemma!