Friday, September 18, 2009

Old & New

Spent yesterday working in the shop. Busy day. Finished it by updating my personal carbon ride. It's been equipped with Record 10s w/ a long cage rear derailer. Of late, it's not shifting right. The cassette is fine, the chain is new, and the derailer tab checks out as straight. So... looks like the derailer is bent. I tried straightening the cage a bit, but there are so few flat surfaces on it that I couldn't get a good read on the alignment table.

Meanwhile, I've been meaning to test out some Hutchinson tubeless clinchers. Supposedly, with Stan's tape and fluid, they work well on Easton rims. And I happened to have a spare set of EA-70s lying around (don't know quite why). The wheels, however, are set up for a Shimano cassette - so a no go-on my Campy bikes.

However, I also have a bit of spare SRAM gear lying around including some 1st gen Rival shifters and rear derailer. Which, of course, would work with Easton rims.

So, I did the only bike-geek respectable thing possible: I've converted the old bike to SRAM.

For now, I can only offer initial thoughts - I don't have any meaningful mileage on this setup. But, here's what I have.

1) Stan's tape was easy to apply - using my truing stand. Without a stand, I think it would have been a pain because the tape is really made for a wider (MTB) rim. It requires tension and a wiggling motion to get it seated properly down below the bead.

2) Unlike with regular tubes, the threaded nut on the valve stem is necessary. Without it, the stem doesn't pull in tightly enough to prevent leakage. Using the nut cranks the stem down nicely.

3) Stan's instructions are right on, but the video is the way to learn the proper install method.

4) It takes tire levers to mount the Hutchinsons (at least on the EA70 rims). I understand the concern about tires blowing off (or at least of having tires loosen enough to loose air), hence the use of a carbon fiber bead that won't stretch. But I have to wonder if the Stan's tape is contributing to this issue. I'm going to have to try tubeless on a set of Ksyriums where rim tape isn't necessary.

5) The tires pumped right up with a floor pump, even without the water and soap suds seal at the rim. After inflating them, I put them in the sink to work in the suds (see Stan's video for explanation). Actually, I couldn't pump the tires up until the valve stems were tight. But, once this was done, the tire beads seemed leak-free. BTW, the next morning, the tires still felt full when squeezed.

6) Installing the fluid wasn't too hard, but because the applicator looks like a big syringe, I thought to draw in fluid and then squirt into the valve stem. Doesn't work that way - too big a nozzle, too thin a fluid: it all spills out. So, I used the applicator more as a funnel - connecting it to the stem - and pouring fluid into it.

7) The initial test rides seemed very plush, but I need to go back and check pressures and try again with some actual miles. Also, I need to get out the tire gauge and see how long the tires hold pressure.

8) The old style (silver) Rival shifters have a nice looking finish. I don't know if its painted or polished and anodized, or? But it looks nice. It will be interesting to see how durable it is. These shifters don't have all the adjustments available on newer SRAM shifters, but seem to fit my hands just fine.

9) For now, I'm using a Campy front derailer. This isn't working well - I can't seem to dial in the shifting. Next stop, Rival front shifter.

10) The rear is shifting nicely. It's so nice to have every cog available to me again. Too bad I didn't have a cassette with a 26t or 27t available. Now I just have to train myself in SRAM shifting. Let's acknowledge here that these 1st gen, lower level, shifters don't sound or feel as nice as Campy. But they are much cheaper and seem to be shifting great with the Rival derailer.

11) The brakes are 1st generation Force. Again, attractively finished. Good braking power - still checking out modulation. Fit of the Q/R impedes easy access to adjust the brake shoe on the cable side - but not outrageously so. These brakes don't have the centering screw of later versions - a loss, but not a major one. The rear brake feels more spongy than I'd like, may have to reduce the toe-in.

12) I haven't weighed anything, but suspect that the SRAM components are lighter or equal in weight to the Campy ones that were swapped out.

13) The cassette has an attractive looking spider inside of the cogs. Otherwise, the cassette just works - nothing to write home about.

14) The ratchet in the rear freehub seems rather draggy. It's not noisy, and the issue may just be too much grease. I'll have to wait and find out if these wheels roll ok, or not. If the hubs roll, then its a great bargain of a wheel set - complete with nice (low drag) stainless spokes. But if the hubs are friction factories, I'm not going to be very happy with these wheels. Perhaps I'll have to check out the Easton website regarding how to adjust the bearings.

That's all for now. I'll provide some more feedback once I have some miles on this combo.

No comments: