As some may have read in my last post (though I must admit that for all the great pain and suffering I gathered very few hits) I was walloped significantly by a car back in mid-December. There are some obvious downsides to this, firstly I am still in a large amount of pain in my back and lower neck. Secondly, my bike is still at the fixing shops (though I have been told that my insurer sent them a cheque this week – so I hope everything will come together soon. Great so the bike will be working but not my body!
Anyway, the above insurance cheque has led to some interesting choices, for example my leather saddle was “grazed” down one side – now this obviously means it is less than near to its previous “nearly new” state but, it also means that I can choose if I want to use the £180 for the saddle on buying a new one or put up with the graze and spend the item on other things (upgrades).
In the crash I lost my bike computer, front light, chainset, helmet and bent the wheels - total cost around £595. Also my bike has had a recall for new front forks (production fault). Coupled with this need to repair broken bits, I also, very fortunately, won £250 from Evans bike store for the “review of the month” in December. YEAH some good news! Funnily enough it was for the Specialized Prevail helmet that I bought a couple of weeks before the accident – as a side point I think I could add some crash test data to the review now!
So all in all the gives me £850 that I HAVE to spend on my bike (I am not allowed to spend it on anything else). This coupled with a little of my own cash has given me a nice list of upgrades which I will review over the coming months namely:
1) Sram Rival Chainset
2) Sram Rival Rear Derailleur
3) Sram Rival brakes
4) Mavic Ksyrium Equipe 2011 Wheel Set
5) Lezyne LED Super Drive 2012 Light
6) Continental Grand Prix 4-Season Tyres
Additionally an improved chain and Cassette – but really can anyone write about these things with any authority?
With a few thousand miles of experience of my old parts I hope that the reviews will be more informative than before and hopefully offer some insights for the average cyclist looking to make reasonable upgrades, that are still price realistic – it is going to be interesting to see how much of a difference I do or don’t notice.
In addition to these changes I have also changed the size of the front chainset to 53/39 from 50/34 and I have kept the same rear cassette sizes (I have no intention of climbing the Alps so I don’t think I am going to miss those really low gears. Also I have changed my crank length from 172.5 mm to 170mm. I did all the reading and body measurements on the right length to have, to be honest I think I was left more confused than when I started – in the end I decided that on average 170mm was the recommended and also I felt I had a little dead space in my leg turning between 9 and 12 O’clock – therefore I felt that odds on 170mm was worth the risk – we shall see.
I also have long-term plans to firstly change my bike to drop down handle bars and get a properly measured stem, to this I will add Sram Force shifters and then finally I will save my pennies for a new frame. All the old parts where possible will go on building a bike for my son, I have always been one of those people that buy generic at the start, but after gathering knowledge always build the second version my own to my special preferences I also hope that I can build a bike with my son that he will like and want to use more often.
So bearing in mind that I got £250 from Evans for best review of the month – you know you should come back here for more insightful reviews! And once again thanks Evans for the free £250 upgrade.