Friday, 2 March 2012

Back to Basics

Having entered the Witches Curse sportive - -  I needed to get my road bike out and do some training. I'm only doing the 45 mile version but it has almost 5,000 feet of climbing and I'm not fit!

So today I took out my road bike for a training run. This bike has only been ridden once in the last 15 years and the frame was built for me by Vernon at M&B Cycles in Dronfield well over 20 years ago.

So here I am training for an event and this really is back to basics. There is no GPS, no cycle computer, no heart rate monitor. The bike itself is considered retro or classic now and there is no indexing on the downtube gear levers, no dual pivot brakes, no compact or triple chainset, no anatomically shaped handlebars and the frame is made of Reynolds 531 Pro steel tubing.

Once back on the bike feels just so as it did when I raced on it 20 years ago.
Simplex retro-friction gear levers - these are working perfectly well on an 8 speed cassette and I never really understood why indexing is so popular on road bikes
Campag Record Strada single pivot brakes - yes dual pivots and hydraulics or discs give more power. More power is not always useful unless somehow you are also able to create more grip on the road (it works on MTB because you have such large contact patches)

Cinelli bars and stem with original Benotto tape - gloves or mits provide the necessary grip and cushioning and nothing gives such a direct feel and control as traditional thin tape
Campag Victory seatpost
Reynolds 531Pro frame and forks - there isn't really anything better - lighter yes, but better no!
Shimano Dura Ace front hub with stainless spokes on a Mavic rim - great wheels which can easily be trued and adjusted and which are built to a tension to suit the rider. I built these fairly tight to suit my style and weight
Shimano Duar Ace rear hub, stainless spokes and Mavic rim. The largest cog used to be an 18 or for particularly hilly riding a 21 but nowadays a 25 is more in order. The Record cranks only take a ring down to 42 and a 25 tooth cog the biggest I can fit with the original Dura Ace rear mech. Still a gear of 45" is quite low.


  1. Hi Shay I have still got my mercian I bought from Sid Standards in 1979. It's set up on a turbo trainer in the spare room. Good luck with your challenge. I'm entering the CRC mtb marathon on Easter sunday. Trevor.

    1. Excellent, I remember that one. I had a Mercian about that time also and mine was stolen while I was a university round 1980 and then I had a Raleigh whic I rode until I got the M&B.