A Chorus Girl

9 Mar

First ride on my “new” bike. New is in quotations because the bike (frame/fork, wheels, seat post, handlebar) are the same. Everything else is different.

Most of all the ride experience.

Astoundingly so, yep, I’m astounded. I really can’t get over the difference. As we were nearing home, I actually had the thought that the bike rides nothing like my old bike – except of course it is my old bike except for the gruppo.

My next thought was what took me so long to do this.

As I posted last week, I’ve upgraded the gruppo on my 2005 Scott CR1 Pro. Since getting the bike in 2006 I’ve ridden the stock components: Campy Centaur 10 speed triple groupset. I’ve wanted to do it and after realizing the cassette, chain and middle chainring needed to be replaced due to wear, I thought (actually Mark thought) get a compact and an upgrade to Chorus.

380754_216403931815356_1189502473_nI upgraded to 2011 Campagnolo Chorus (just call me a Chorus girl 🙂 11 speed compact groupset including the brakes. The compact is a 50×34 and cassette is a 12×27 (12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25,27). The bike shop talked me in to getting the 12×27 over the 11×25 to have a lower gear – which I’ll probably appreciate more than I will miss the top end gear (11), but today I’m not sure. We didn’t take a long ride due to weather, but the riding was so effortless I found myself looking forward to hills to test if I needed the easiest gear but I never did. Granted nothing was steep or long so I won’t really know until I can go east and ride the hills. I did, however miss the top end gear. I’ll just have to see if the tradeoff of that 27 is worth it. Otherwise, I’ll switch to an 11×25.

I’m still stunned by how different the ride is. Of course I knew it would be better but there was no way to know how much better it would be with all the changes combined – most of them significant as a solo change – in a package, simply outstanding.

The changes:

1.      Newer components – from 2005 to 2011. Improvements happen every year, so big difference.

2.      Centaur to Chorus, significant upgrade.

3.      Triple to compact,

4.      The brakes.  

The brakes are incredible. I had read glowing reviews of the brakes but oh, my stopping power! Better than my disc brakes on the Jamis. No kidding. I love the brakes.

As far as the shifting, it was solid and smooth. After I switched to Campagnolo after 15 years of riding only Shimano, I attempted to describe the difference between Campagnolo and Shimano shifting. I likened it to the difference between driving a car with stick shift and an automatic. There’s feedback when you shift with a stick – and Campy. Maybe it’s not better, just different in a better way – at least for me.

I’m glad I didn’t shop for a new bike, I would have spent quite a bit more to get what I now have with these upgrades. Better to improve than replace if the frame/fork is good and fits you. I actually never considered getting a new road bike, I really love the Scott, only more now.

I can’t wait to take our usual ride so I can really compare. Today was an exhilarating first test ride!

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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