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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Maillot Juane - The Review

If you know anything about bikes, you will soon know just how long I have waited to purchase a new bike.
Even those who know nothing of cycling will recognize that when a guy is excited about 5-10 year old technology on his "new" bike, he must have been waiting too long. But hey, when it's not the right time to buy - it's not the right time to buy.

I finally rode the bike for the first time after nearly 2 weeks of anxiously nursing my wounds.

It was just a quick spin out toward the old brick yard on the Carquinez Scenic Highway. I was still wearing my wrist brace, and trying to get used to STI shifting. (Yeah, this is where - if you know anything about road bikes - you will know I had an old bike.) The down tube shifters of 2 decades ago worked great, but forced you to take your hands off the handlebars to shift. The Lemond's Shimano Ultegra system - though a few years old - is incomparably superior. Unfortunately the modern technology shifts gears with a twist that my wrist still begrudges.

I was nervous as a cat on the wet roads, my wrist hurt and thus I could hardly shift gears, and I got mud on the new bike. I actually had buyer's remorse when I got home.

"Fickle as a feather in the wind" was the way Giuseppe Verdi's Duke described the Lady of Rigoletto. I maintain my own rights to fickleness.

I recovered psychologically by Saturday and rode with a group of 7 on a foggy 35 mile ride. I relegated the wrist brace to my jersey pocket and rode free for the whole ride. The descents were pretty tough with all the jarring, and riding in the drops or on top of the bar took a little bit of grit. I spent the majority of the time up on the hoods, and even then relying heavily on my left arm. It didn't matter though, as I was falling in love. Having doffed the brace, I could now grasp the hoods correctly and shifting fell in line as if it had been there all along. Buyer's remorse has given way to a joyous honeymoon. We will really begin to build the relationship this spring as I begin training for the summer rides. No real training till this wrist gets better though. I'm paying for those 35 miles today.

If you don't care about cycling in general, then you are done reading.
Following is my wandering comparison and comments regarding graduation from a nearly 20 year old bike to a nearly 10 year old bike.

First the raw facts.
(Note: I'm not sure of the vintage of most of these items, but have been researching as best I can.)

55cm Lemond Maillot Juane (Yellow Jersey) frame.
Spinergy wheels
Shimano Ultegra drive train - Triple chain ring, 9 speed cassette.
Shimano clipless pedals - With a Discovery Channel Team logo on the side. Hmm? Probably not as special as I could imagine them to be.
Truvative carbon cranks - I checked the reviews on these and they are unfortunately not news makers.
Look carbon fiber stem - The seller let me swap this one for the old (Performance) Forte stem that was on there. I gained in style but lost in weight (The Look is heavier). Not sure what the difference will be in performance though, as carbon fiber is far superior at dampening vibration. Of course - I may never know since I never compared.
And then a myriad of other components far superior to those on the Bridgestone RB2 I was riding.

The basic differences are as follows...
New - STI shifting
Old - Down tube index shifting
Yeah, like I said, my old bike was a relic. (I can say that, you can't. You must treat it with respect and show it the dignity it deserves.)

New - Triple Chainring
Old - Double Chainring
This is neither good nor bad. No one races with a triple - so style suffers if I'm emulating Lance or Levi. But, then again I'm gonna love the low gear ratio provided by that third ring on the hills around here. I'm used to the triple on my mountain bike, so no learning curve to speak of.

Old - Steel frame with Chro-moly forks.
New - Reynolds 853 Steel frame with Carbon forks.
Though not seemingly that much of a change - all said and done the Lemond weighs 4 pounds less than the RB-2. The frame is a big part of that.

Basic Similarities...

The frame geometry might as well be identical. It was a cinch getting the new bike set up to fit me.
They are both Purple.
Both brands have managed to attract a small clickish following, and were discontinued just before I purchased them. Both will be worth more in 10 years than they are today - assuming I keep the shiny side up.
Both are a pleasure to ride.

1 comment:

  1. Becaus I am your mother, I dutifully read all, however, the thing that really impresses me is that the bikes are purple. Now, I really understand that. Yeah for purple!
    Love, Mama