Sunday, June 23, 2013

A tale of two cranks

The busted non-drive side crank is now in the past for the Bianchi.  As usual Velocity Co-Op came through with a timely and appropriate part.  The original Campy Mirage crank set had 175mm arms and the available donor had 170mm... Luckily I was able to swap both side crank arms as the 'new' Campy Veloce crank was also set up as a triple.  One surprise to overcome was that the new set had a narrower 'tread', or 'q-factor' which resulted in the small chain ring rubbing the chain stay... a new, wider spindle. 
Not a completely smooth change out but successful in the end.  I got two excellent commutes in on the Bianchi last week and I'm looking forward to doing a longer trip, unloaded, in the future.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Busting your crank literally... but more on that in a minute.  First please welcome a new member of the stable -

The 1995 Bianchi Eros.  The Eros comes via an unusual straight up trade via Craigslist where I unloaded an extra Nikon FM2N film camera for the bike which just happened to be close enough for my size.  To be fair here is a shot of the FM2N, one of the greatest film camera's of the 1980's and 90's at least at that price point - 

The FM2N was part of a larger lot of camera stuff I picked up late last year and while it is in excellent condition it was redundant next to my FM2, F3HP and others... putting me in the happy situation to get a great trade offer.  The thought occured to me that these two items could have been on the shelf brand new at the same time in 1995...  bikepedia says the Eros was a ~$950 bike and the FM2N had to be in the similar neighborhood, maybe a bit less.  Interesting.

Anyway, on to the ride.  The route was into Old Town Alexandria via Del Ray/Rosemont then out onto the Mt Vernon Trail about 7 miles and then home via the MV/4 Mile Run Trails.  16miles of mixed road and trail.  the bike handles pretty nicely and overall has a 'tight' feel to it, it accelerates wonderfully and climbs from the standing position better than any of my other recent rides.  The first gen 'brifter shifting' is excellent on the right side, the Campagnolo Mirage Groupset shifts very precisely and with a very satisfying click-click.  The brakes are a bit softer than I like, and the levers themselves sit out further than is comfortable and I ended up usually only getting 2 fingers on them to brake.  The handlebars are a bit to far out in front though I'm going to experiment with saddle position before I do anything drastic there.  The bar tape, while it looks great is minimally padded and I regretted not wearing gloves.  Either the crank arms are longer than I'm used to or the Bottom Bracket is lower because I scrapped my peddal or shoe half a dozen times in turns, definitely something to look out for.

Some of that may sound critical but I really enjoyed the ride, it has to be the fastest bike I've ridden lately... the 25mm tires take some getting used to coming from my lucious 42mm Hetres but I feel like that is a given and not a gripe.

There isn't a whole lot I've found on the bike but it does appear to have been a touring, or sport-touring bike in Bianchi's line as it does have front and rear braze-ons, a pump peg and two water bottle boss braze-ons.  The ironic thing is that I've been slowly (painfully slowly) building up my Univega Supra Sport frame to try out drop bars and STI shifters more thoroughly following my good experience with both during my San Diego bike rental.  Now I'm getting close on the Univega and have the Bianchi dropped in my lap... not a bad problem to have.  My plan is to finish the Univega, ride both and make a call based on size and comfort to get rid of one...

Ah yes but the title of the post... while the Eros looked to be in superb, if not mint condition... all was not completely right and as it so happens the left crank arm came loose on my ride today. I still need to investigate if it is just the arm or something bottom bracket related.  We'll see.  Looking like a wet ride tomorrow!