Monday, June 9, 2008

New Bling

My Dura-Ace crankset FINALLY arrived. The crankset hung out in customs for a bit too long to my liking then the mail room at work had a brain fart and lost it for a few days. I should've had them last Monday. Instead, I received them this Monday. 175mm length of shiny, silver bling. It even looks sexier than the FSA K-Force I previously had and also felt lighter in the hand, and, in fact, is lighter (confirmed at the bike shop)

So, who cares how it looks, how does it perform? Well, I thought I had some good gear before with the upgraded Stronglight Teflon chain rings on the top of the line K-Force FSA crankset. The Dura-Ace makes the FSA seem pretty lame in comparison. It was immediately noticeably stiffer in the bottom bracket area. Great and all and I like it when as much as my power as possible is being transferred. But the best part is the shifting. The dura-ace chain rings simply shift significantly better. Immediate response after I flick the trigger. POP on to the big ring. Absolutely no hesitation. This is nice. Really nice. I hope it always shifts like this!

On the way home, I decided to get my "long distance" weekend bib short - something I've been hemming and hawing over for awhile like which brand, etc. What is a long distance weekend bib short you say? One day a week I ride far. Having bib shorts that are extremely comfortable is an obvious very good thing to have and could even make or break the day's ride. The Hammer bibs are great, and I think they are more than adequate, but I feel like there may be a better bib out there for the extreme mileage/hour days. A more expensive bib. A much more expensive bib. The debit card is still crying.

Oops, I jumped ahead. So I peeled off the bike path around 65th ST. on the west side and headed up the hill past the gaudy Trump towers and banged a right on West End Ave and jay walked, etc my way across the street to Toga Bike Shop. A high end bike shop that probably has the best selection of gear for a roadie in NYC. Debatable.

So I browse through the 300 pairs of bibs mostly sorted by size and grab three pairs of high end bibs to try on. Castelli, Gore, and Giordana. $149 to $229. Ouch. I hope the $149 are the best fitting. Ha!

I start with the cheapest first, the Giordana Tenax Carbon, hoping to see a difference as the price increases. They feel great. They are super high tech looking. The chamois does not look as fancy as the ION SL that comes with the Hammer bibs. Overall I could certainly, probably, live with these as a day to day short but I don't think they are "the" high end long distance weekend ride short.

Next up is Gore Xenon Bib short. Super silkly material. Very well made. Great leg grippers - much better than most I've seen. I tried these bad boys on and, wow, they are excellent. They definitely feel better than the Giordana. The chamois is very high end. I think I recall reading somewhere it's the same that Assos uses. The fit is perfect. These just might be the ones. $179. Yikes.

And, finally, the Castelli. Too high end. Too expensive. Fit is perfect. But, I don't think they are better than the Gore. In fact, the Gore may be slightly better. Unfortunately I can't afford both to take home and test. Maybe next year.

So, I ended up getting the Gore Xenon. I'm looking forward to this weekends ride to see how they work out. They are pretty amazing technology wise and seem to be superior to anything I've ever worn before. Better be for nearly $200 after tax.

Signing off...

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