The great bicycle upgrade of 2012
I ride an old bike – a 1983(?) Concord RS1400. Over the years I’ve replaced many parts on it to the point where I believe the only original parts on it were the rear wheel and the frame.
On May 16th, I felt my sedentary lifestyle needed a change, pulled the bike off the hooks, gave it a quick cleaning and started riding again. As I noticed issues like the wheels not really spinning as well as they could, I pulled them apart, cleaned them, lubricated them and put them back together.
However, technology has advanced considerably and my bike’s age shows through. My average ride has me hovering around 17mph for a little more than an hour. So, I started looking around on ebay and craigslist for a shortlist of bicycles. As I’m relatively tall, finding a bike that fits has been a difficult process, so, I started looking at upgrading my current bike.
I spent a lot of time analyzing my rides and came to a few conclusions. One, I would probably do well adding a 14 and a 16 to my current cogset and fixing my bad habits early would pay off.
I found a set of wheels and tires on craigslist for $100 that could accept a Shimano/SRAM cassette and started the search for the perfect cassette. Since I live in Florida, hills are non-existant, so, I can get a tight grouping and have the perfect range. I ended up finding an SRAM PG-970 9 speed with an 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21. After putting that on the bike, it was an amazing difference. I could easily move back and forth with minor adjustments and keep my cadence in the right range. All told, not including tools, it cost me $166 to replace my old 13-30t and move to 700c x 25 tires and wheels and a new 11-21t. The difference in ride has been phenomenal.
On to the other bad habits, I’m not using as much of the pedal stroke to deliver power. I’ve been working on that. My line is good, but, my cadence is a bit off. Once I get over 80rpm, my brain wants to take me back to 75rpm which is where I used to ride when racing. It feels unnatural to be spinning at 85rpm in the 14 or 15 rather than 75rpm in the 11, but, I’m working on that.
And, with all of the adjustments, I now have replaced a bunch of the tools I once had with a bunch of Park Tools. Pin wrench, lockring wrench, cone wrenches, crank puller, etc.
By the time I’m done, I’ll have almost as many tools as a bicycle shop.