Sunday, June 12, 2011

Seattle Report Back

I've been back from Seattle for a while now, but had lost my battery charger for photos... Got it back, so here are some of the thoughts I had while riding.

The first day was spent riding from Olympia to Southworth. This ride was completed as if it were part of an extended tour; nice and steady pace. The route was fairly flat until the end, where the rolling hills were unlike any I've encountered consecutively. The remainder of our stay in Seattle was spent at a faster pace, with mostly flat terrain with the occasional steep hill. The Lotus did well with this style of riding, but some improvements I noted could be made.

Older 1O speed Shimano Ultegra Brifters: The first noticeable deficiency with these for me was that the cable routing for shifting conflicted with the handlebar bag. I shoots out right into the side pockets, making removal and access to side pockets a head ache. The latest versions of Shimano's brifters do not have this problem and route like Campy brifters.

The lever provided good actuation from the drops and from the hoods. However, after spending 3 days riding hard making good use of the brakes going downhill, I found my right hand [which controls my front brake] cramping up considerably. It was so bad that by the end of the third or forth day of riding, I had trouble coming to a complete stop afte a descent that ended at a busy intersection. I noticed that the cramp came from my ring and pinky fingers, which visually makes sense:

My pinky and ring finger get over used... UTTER CRAP!!!

 Beyond the actual levers, the drive terrain held up well. Well minus the chain that broke RIGHT BEFORE I left for Seattle. Took a link out and made sure not to cross chain... sketch. Ultimately, never used the 11x52 teeth setting except for when I wanted to go REALLY fast down hills and spent the most time in the 16x52 or 16x42... Whateves, I am now switching out to 8 speed wide range: 11-25 to 11-32. I have a wide range double too, but with a 44 big ring... Hopefully its not too slow.

 The wheels held up fine. What was noticeable was tire performance. The 32mm width made Seattle pot holes and rail road tracks a bit more tolerable while not sacrificing any speed. In fact, I felt the bike handled general riding and coasting acceleration must more easily than my 7OOc'ed fellow riders. It actually became kind of annoying; when ever we came to a slight downhill or flat surface, the tires wanted to carry the bike into the rear of the rider in front of me, requiring me to feather the brakes semi-frequently [explains above problem.] It would be interesting to see what this trip would have been like if everyone in the pack had the same tires. Oh yeah, no flats despite the shitty road conditions at times.

The weather was nice, but Seattle air quality is horrible compared to Olympia. Good trip overall.


My former bike, now ridden by a more appropriately-sized rider.


  1. About the brifters. I rode STP in 2004 on my Bianchi with shimano brifters. I had some hand numbness in the last 50 miles but was dismayed to find that I couldn't even write or hold a fork afterwards- for like 2 weeks. Not wanting to repeat the mistake, I changed my setup to Cane Creek SCR levers (which copy the Campagnolo Ergopower shape) and downtube shifters. No more hand numbness after that, even on similar rides. I don't know if it is the shape of the levers or that you are forced to take your hand off the bar momentarily to shift but it worked for me. Downtube shifters are also light, have better cable routing (especially for a bag in front), cheap, durable, and in friction mode will work with any cassette or derailleur.

  2. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one having problems with these levers. The newer 1O5-Dura Ace Brifters seem to be a radical departure from past levers, but I wonder if they still suffer from the poor ergonomics???

    I originally ran 1O5 friction DT shifters with the Ultegra 1O spd cassette which worked fine, but for some reason decided that brifters would be an 'upgrade'... Plus I had them lying around from another abandoned project, so I thought what the hell. I'm trying bar-ends now, we'll see how that goes.