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SRAM It Man!
I've always hated the "two party system" !
Even back in the seventies I didn't like the "two choices".
I need more choices - better choices.
Back in the seventies and eighties, most of the racers and the pretend racers, like me, loved Campagnola parts.
Many liked Shimano.
Even then I would choose the best component for the job.
Oh wait! You thought I was talking politics!
Even in cycling I have disliked monopolies!
Tulio Campagnola invented the "quick release" mechanism for the bicycle wheel. I'm telling this story from memory and hope it holds up. Tulio was racing many decades ago and had a flat. His hands were too cold to use a wrench (spanner) for removing his wheel and he watched as he was passed.
This led Tulio to manufacture the greatest components of his time. His company, Campagnola would build fast sports car wheels, and some of his products went to the moon.
Shimano components took a great deal of the market with great products and many, many cheaper products.
Suntour came to be a great choice for me after a while. Suntour was lighter and really pretty.
Campagnola was the standard with its beautifully etched carvings on their products. Campy hubs and bottom brackets would last, honestly, indefinitely if you maintained them. Once a year or so we would tear down the hubs and bottom-bracket, clean, and grease it all up and make the "proper" adjustments.
Campy, for many years, was THE way to go.
Suntour actually made a better gear lever (shifter) than Campy or Shimano. Suntour was making the only "ratchet type" shifter instead of the "friction type" shifter that Campy and Shimano incorporated.
Some smart racers, like 13 time State Champion of South Carolina, Chris Harwick, used the Suntour and I followed Chris' lead and used the ratchet myself.
But Shimano and Campagnola had the lion's share of the market and Suntour quit importing to America.
Back to the two party system!
SRAM it man!
In 2010, Micky Dee says, "SRAM it!"
One of the "tightest" racer/riders in history just left the "main" road and took the route better traveled. This "frugal facade of a racer" upgraded his bike to SRAM components.
My friend and adviser, Tod, pointed me toward the SRAM and some other upgrades.
I am a good mechanic. I have been the best mechanic. What makes one a great mechanic is not necessarily knowledge or experience, but the DESIRE to the GREAT job NOW!
I could still do many obsolete jobs that Tod has never known but would have little difficulty in learning. He is GOOD!
I am slower. I am not knowledgeable about the new world of components like Tod is.
Tod has also given me prices and respect that I will NEVER forget!
So Tod has HOOKED ME UP!
The Groupo in the words from SRAM:
The Pro Gruppo. SRAM RED is the first choice for riders and racers who won’t accept any compromise. The most challenging races in the world have been won on SRAM RED, including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Paris-Roubaix. Exactly seven teams in the 2010 Tour were SRAM RED-equipped. Its success in the pro peloton speaks for itself, delivering best-in-class performance, weight and function that the world’s best riders rely on.
For more about SRAM components please visit:
Red shift levers, in the words from SRAM:
Competition improves the breed: SRAM Red DoubleTap® controls break new ground in materials applications and design for even better performance and customized comfort. The SRAM Red Shifter uses a highly developed version of DoubleTap®, which is enhanced by a specific pawl geometry that results in zero-loss travel.
Proprietary DoubleTap® mechanism with ZeroLoss™ technology delivers smooth up and downshifts in one motion.
Revolutionary ergonomic design is comfortable, with the added benefit of custom-tunable reach adjust, while weighing only 280g.
Ultra-strong carbon brake lever and shift lever are light, stiff, and comfortable.
Micky Dee bought the Red (top of the line) shifters.
The Red rear derailleur in words from SRAM:
Material makes the difference: Exact Actuation™ combined with materials upgrades yields world-beating performance and weight savings. Light weight, precision, and fluid performance put the new SRAM Red Rear Derailleur in a class of its own. Based on the already-superior design of the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur, the Red offering delivers even greater advantages thanks to a diet of structural carbon and titanium. Hybrid ceramic bearing pulleys and the titanium parallelogram spring further supercharge the overall component speed, accuracy, and durability. Amazingly, these design choices yield an astonishing 153g mechanism.
Exact Actuation means precise, even gear changes throughout the shifting range.
Carbon-fiber cage and carbon-fiber inner link provide strength and light weight.
I did not buy the Red rear derailleur. This derailleur offers the ceramic bearings that will knock seconds off a 100 mile bike ride. There is a weight savings here but Tod's advice and my choice was to buy the Force rear derailleur. The Force was/is determined to be the "better buy" for Micky Dee.
The Force rear derailleur in words from SRAM:
Crisp, clean, correct shifting, always: the most precise gear change in cycling is here with the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur.
The SRAM Force Rear Derailleur takes advantage of Exact Actuation™, an actuation ratio that delivers precise 3mm shifts in every gear along with the widest range of adjustment available, delivering the best 10 speed performance in the sport. The SRAM Force Rear Derailleur is crafted with cutting-edge materials, including a unidirectional carbon-fiber outer cage and a magnesium inner link, resulting in an impressively light 178g weight.
Exact Actuation means precise, even gear changes throughout the shifting range.
Carbon-fiber outer cage and magnesium inner link provide strength and light weight.
The Force rear derailleur was/is Micky Dee's choice (and Tod's recommendation). This derailleur was everything I wanted and cheaper. Faster pulleys could be bought in the spring. I was able to spread my little bit of money toward other improvements.
The Red front derailleur in words from SRAM:
SRAM’s Red Front Derailleur takes precision shifting to its limits, offering the smoothest up - and downshifting. Bolstered by a hardened titanium cage, shifting and trimming are fast, easy, and smooth as silk across the entire range for both traditional and compact ring sets.
SRAM actuation maintains proper balance between upshifting and downshifting.
I have this derailleur but I have not installed it yet. The old Shimano Ultegra front derailleur works with the SRAM shifters. I may replace it to experiment with SRAM's newer front.
The SRAM cassette in words from SRAM:
OpenGlide technology allows for smoother transition between gears.
Stiff: 15% stronger than its competitor.
Durable: 35% harder than titanium!
Lightweight: Innovative CNC‘d chromoly steel construction.
Micky Dee bought it! It feels great! This is also a 10-speed or 10-sprocket gear cluster. My Shimano was 9-speed.
So with 2 sprockets on the front (X 10 + 20) I now have a 20 speed bike.
The largest sprocket is a 28. The larger the sprocket on the rear wheel, the lower the gear. My Shimano had a 27 for the lowest. This enabled me to install a 36 tooth sprocket on my front "compact" crank in place of the 36 tooth chainring. The drop down now is less extreme. And yes, this may be the Piedmont - but we have hills that are hard enough and long enough that this old man can appreciate this low gear.
The newest 1091R PowerChain in words from SRAM:
The newest 1091R chain features more heavily chamfered outer plates for improved shifting and quieter running. Other advancements include a new inner plate finish plus chrome hardened pin construction, both for longer chain life.
The HollowPin construction of SRAM's 10 speed PowerChain™ provides smooth, precise shifting and weight savings without sacrificing strength.
I have always loved the SRAM chain and its fore-runner the Sedis-Sport chain they took over. I love the connecting link.
Shimano chains and Cmapagnola chains use a "pin" to hold the chain where it is broken and/or attached. These Shimano and Campy chains fail - right there - all the time. Mechanics may say that "if installed correctly it works fine". These chains have broken or they are going to break in my opinion. I carry a SRAM connecting link AT ALL TIMES and never for a SRAM chain. It is ALWAYS the Shimano and Campagnola chain that breaks. I've used 2 of the connecting links in the last year. I can't remember the first but the second was for my friend Paul Cooke from Ohio. Over the years I have installed, maybe, a dozen of these links.
Another improvement I've made is to install a lighter stem but the purpose is to raise my head.
I also installed carbon handlebars to reduce road shock.
I'm doing what I can and spending what I can to make my ride less painful.
Injuries require "pain-management"!
I must thank God for someone like Tod (no rhyme or pun intended at all) for helping me with advice and price!
The improvements with all the SRAM components have raised the quality of my life - at least - on the bike!.
Yeah - Tod hooked me up with faster wheels too.
He'll still kick my hiney on a bike ride though!
The shifting is very distinct but very smooth.
The shifting takes no time at all to get used to.
Push once for a lower gear (larger sprocket on the rear)
Push it through to the second click for another gear.
Once you pause on a gear, push the lever once to drop down to a higher gear (smaller sprocket) or push it twice for a lower gear (back up to another larger sprocket) than you were in.
Once you have the levers in your hand you know what's happening.
I was delighted at how instantly felt at home. It didn't take a block.
Tod Andrews works in Carrboro, North Carolina.
(He'll be eating lunch around noon at Weaver Street Market.)
For those who are unfamiliar with Carrboro - it's the center of the Universe!
Tod is one of the. absolute best mechanics!
Tod is one of the best ride leaders in the area.
Check out Tod! He'll steer you right!