Modifications (as of June 2013)
- Saddle - replaced original saddle with a classic Brooks B-17 (black) - now that it is broken in, I rarely have tush discomfort
- Fork - replaced the carbon fork with a steel Rivendell Carbonomas fork. Why? Steel doesn't suddenly and catastrophically fracture. Safety first. The steel fork also allowed me to raise the handlebars about 2 cm higher and I am much more comfortable. The carbon fork could only have 4 cm of spacers underneath because anymore spacers and the manufacturer can't say your stem and handlebars won't suddenly snap off (even below the maximum, your stem and handle bars could suddenly snap off - sounds pleasant, doesn't it?).
- Stem - The bike came with a 120mm Ritchey stem. This was too long. Recently, I have switched to a shiny, chrome 70mm stem with a 17 degree rise from Velo Orange. Mmmm, shiny.
- Cranks - Velo orange 48/34 compact double (170 mm) - less knee pain with the slightly shorter cranks (the originals were 175 mm). The original crank was a triple and while I don't have a problem with a triple, I didn't like the shifting. It was cumbersome and altogether too time consuming. Especially when you are in traffic. Edit - in May of 2012, I somehow managed to break the small chainring and all the bolts came loose. Velo Orange shipped me new rings for free, so everything is cool now.
- Cassette - SRAM 12-28 nine speed - that gives me a nice 34/28 combo for climbing the long or steep hills. I wouldn't want to ride cross country with that, but it works well for the vast majority of my riding.
- Derailleurs - the front is an Ultegra and the rear is a Dura-ace. I got these cheap from a friend and couldn't turn down the quality.
- Shifters - The shifters have gone from Sora level "brifters" to Dura Ace bar ends (set on friction mode) and now to Silver Shifters from Rivendell Bicycle Works. They are simple and easy to use, once you get used to them.
- Brake levers - I could have used the old Sora brake levers, but I decided I wanted something more comfy, so I went with a set of SRAM S500 levers. They are pretty comfy and seem to fit my hand well. I don't notice them much and that is a good thing.
- Wheels - The original wheels were never used. They were immediately replaced with a pair of Mavic Askiums. I had issues with durability, particularly of the rear wheel, so I switched to a set of Cole Rollens. I've now been riding them for about a year and have had one broken spoke. My current thinking is the next set will be either 32 or 36 spoke for improved durability.
- Tires - both tires are now 23 mm. I would love to have at least 28s, but with the new fenders I put on, the biggest I can go is 23s. I might be able to squeeze in 25s but the clearances would probably be too tight.
- Computer - Currently, I'm using a Garmin 500 and I really do love it. It gives me all this great data, maps of where I have been, and nicely compiles all the numbers in one space.
- Pedals - Grip Kings from Rivendell (actually made by MKS). They have a nice big platform and I can wear essentially any size of shoes.
- Handlebars - These have been upgraded to set of Velo Orange Grand Cru Randonneur handlebars. They have nice, parallel drops which do seem more comfortable to me.
- Bar Tape - this is currently my favorite part of my bike. When I got new handlebars, it gave me the opportunity to try something I had been daydreaming about for a long time...Shellac! I purchased cork bar tape from Rivendell and used an amber shellac to coat the tape after it was applied. It is fabulous? It looks like leather and feels fabulous.
- Headset Spacers - yes, I got new headset spacers. Why? Aesthetics
- Inner Tubes - who knows what type of tubes they have?
- Fenders - I just added some SKS-Germany Chormoplastic fenders. They are considered their silver color but it really is more of a shiny grey. The great thing is that the fender color is almost a perfect match to Gimli the Road Bike's paint scheme.
- Mud Flaps - What? Mud flaps? Yep, I made some DIY mud flaps out of a rubber stair tread cover and some rubber coated twisty-ties. They're fabulous. What I really like is I can take them off or put them on fairly easily.
- Seat Post - The original seat post has been replaced with a shiny, aluminum seat post from Velo Orange. It has extra setback built in to make getting the Brooks saddle far enough back.
Will I eventually replace those parts? Probably not. I'm currently saving up for a new bike because I don't feel like the frame fits me as well as it should. It seems just a little too long for me. The handle bars are as far up as they can go and the stem is as short as they come. With all this, it still feels like I'm too far forward with my hands on the brake hoods.
When I do finally replace Gimli the Road Bike, it will be a little bittersweet. We've done a lot together and will do quite a lot more before he is replaced. I'll have put thousands of miles on him. Some of those miles will have been the best miles I've done. Some will be the worst. I might even find some way of keeping him around. Maybe Gimli the Road Bike will convert over to Gimli the Solid Commuter.