Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking back (new thoughts on old stuff)

I guess we start this weeks post with a look at my run from Sunday. The purpose was to get 20' at race pace after the halfway point, with the rest of the run at a smooth easy pace. I think I nailed it pretty well, so with any luck I'm going to have a very good Half Marathon at the end of the month.
Check out my run and make fun of how slow I am below!
Passing those thoughts, I figured I'd take a little time to give some updated thoughts on some of the stuff I've been using now that it's gotten some age on it. That and I know the real reason a lot of you people show up is to see the reviews of some of the more obscure stuff. So, to feed the wolves...

Oysmetric Chainrings (The review here)

I've had these installed long enough have started thinking of them as "normal." I'm still not convinced that I'd want them on my road bike (although the new versions have ramps that likely improve shifting) but for my TT bike I'm pretty much sold. I ended up rotating them to the suggested (by the tests linked in the review) position and I like it a little more than I liked the "stock" one, but that may be something everybody that ends up with them would need to determine for themselves.

The shifting is something that you learn to live with. It's not wonderful by any stretch of the imagination, and certainly not in the same realm as something like the Wickwerks chainrings, but it's more than adequate for TT'ing or triathlons. I've only experienced a dropped chain once, and it was completely my fault for not having the K-edge (I do think that this is a necessary component for the Osy's) properly set up after adjusting the front derailleur.  It's also worth noting that the Osy's are loud, primarily in the small chainring (when the chain inevitably slaps the top of the FD cage.) or when you are crosschaining (I know... you shouldn't be) Still... I like them and will probably stick with them when/if I move up to 11 speed on my TT bike.

Here you can see the changed angle (note where the safety chain pin is... not hidden behind the crank arm)

Microshift White Group (The Review here and here)

One of the hottest debates seems to be whether Microshift is the genius move for a group or an utter failure. At $260 for the drivetrain, I still stand of the "genius" side of the river. I've given it Crits, Road Races, Training and Triathlons and it's still going strong. As a matter of fact, the only sign of wear has been the coated shifter cables (the coating is now worn off) and the fact that the white hoods are starting to turn more of a parchment color. No, these aren't Dura Ace / Red / Record level shifters, and yes I still think the throw on the Front shifter is too long... but as far as performance to value ratio goes... these things are amazing. Of course, with 10 speed starting to phase out it's not unrealistic to imagine high end 10spd components from the big 3 dropping into this price range, especially if you don't mind "slightly used" being tagged onto the Buy it Now button... Something to consider.

Also worth mentioning is that the new 11 speed (Centos) group has been spotted, with a new (and odd looking) shifter system.

interesting button design

Wickwerks Chainrings (The Review here)

Not a big fan of mysterious upgrades shrouded in pseudo-science? More of an instant gratification type rider? Then the WW chainrings are the ticket. I noticed notably smoother front shifting both on the road and on the stand immediately. If you already use fairly high quality chainrings it's hard to imagine it getting much better... but it can. Necessary? Ehh, I think of them kind of like a comfortable chair... not necessary by any means, but something you are glad you have pretty often. If your current rings are in good shape, I'd probably hold off, but if your old rings are getting worn down, I can't recommend the WW's enough.

And those are the big 3 (from my view count anyways) from my reviews. So there, now you have some long(er) term thoughts on each one.

Next week I'll hopefully be feeling really good about the impending 1/2 marathon. I've got one more weekend run with 30' of race pace... hopefully I nail it and it's smooth sailing all the way through the end of the race :)

As always thank you all for taking the time to read through.

-Christopher Morelock

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