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Bicycle road test report

I fitted new tyres, a new chain and a pair of new brakes, and this morning I rode out for a test ride. Everything was a total success and although my ride was only 18miles I came back with a broad smile on my face. The ride was a complete relief.

I’ll tell you a story.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin.

I love Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres. They are light and flexible, hard wearing and puncture proof, and until recently have been readily available from a variety of outlets. Early this year, I looked on the ‘net to buy another pair. Ribble.co.uk is my favoured site and to my dismay, they had none in stock in 23mm black/white – the ones I wanted. You can click on a link and Ribble will email you when they come into stock. However, I checked other sites and found no-one had any in! Wiggle had a due date of March.

Weeks went by, and no stock anywhere, Wiggle’s due date went back and back, and even now it says “Late June”. Ribble never got back to me and I was getting desperate as the ones I had were wearing out. I emailed the UK distributor, and I heard nothing, so I telephoned them. Trouble was, a recorded BT message said the number wasn’t recognised! I emailed Vittoria themselves but a week later I’d received no reply, so I decided to try bike shops abroad. I found Bike24.com based in Dresden, Germany and they delivered my tyres in a few days. Great service.

Also, I needed a new chain. When I went over to 10sp, I bought two Campagnolo chains and over the years, I swapped them every 1,000miles or so. Chain A has done 5,044miles and Chain B 4,072miles. The both of them were showing their miles as they were becoming a little sloppy, though neither of them were “worn” in the usual way ie stretched. My chain checker wouldn’t go in and even measuring over 12″ they showed no error. It was only when you looked closely using a 39″ steel rule that you could see the stretch. So I ordered a new chain (now called Chain C) from Ribble, and it arrived on the same day as the tyres from Bike24.

I set about fettling and tinkering. Whilst both the wheels were off, I fitted the new tyres and gave the bike a good clean and re-fitted the wheels. It was then that I found a horror! Right there before me, on the front brake, I saw a crack on the left hand side calliper. How long it had been there, I can only guess.

I was devastated. My precious Campagnolo Chorus brakes broken. There was no way on God’s earth that I was going to ride my bike with a crack like that on the brake, and although Campag do all the spares for the brakes, they don’t do the main calliper arms. It had to be a new brake set. I’ve had them since spring of 2007 so they are well out of warranty but I have contacted Campag via their “contact us” button on their site to let them know of the defect. No reply as yet ……

So it was back to Ribble again. I bought a pair of Campag Athena brakes and paid extra for Next Day Delivery, and yesterday Parcel Force brought them to me and I was fitting them within minutes! I didn’t even take the sticky labels off!

Anyway, off I went on a test ride this morning.

The tyres performed exactly as I’d expected. Nothing to report there.
The new brakes were shiny and perfect and performed as expected. Nothing to report there.
The chain, although performed beautifully was “different” to the old chains. Nothing to put my finger on, just “different”. Maybe crisper and quieter in operation, though clunky – but crisp – when changing gear. Remember, it’s been nearly 10,000miles since I last had a new chain, so I’m not really used to it! The old chains would switch from one chain ring to the other with hardly a whisper, but the new chain was definitely clunky. Positive, perfect, accurate, but clunky. Maybe it’ll wear in ……..

Any road up, that was my test ride. I’m a happy bunny, but £80 worse off and a have useless Chorus front brake. Whether it could be “repaired” in some way I’ve yet to think about, but even then can it be trusted?

Regards to all, and see you in Skipton next month!
Mick.

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