Thursday, September 11, 2008

Torellis and The Tree

I've now had the pleasure of taking each Torelli I've ridden out to The Tallest Black Cotton Wood in North America. (Sounds like a date after I read it back to myself.) Anyway, it's just out about 12 miles from our house and makes for a nice 22 mile loop to Willamette Mission Park and back. Here I am on my lunch ride yesterday with the 20th Anniversary Torelli, still in all it's funky frankenstein-ness, well, here's the bike anyway:

Working back in time one bike at a time, next is my current do everything Torelli shortly after getting it from the shop:

And the original ride that inspired it all, me on Nicks red Torelli, way back in the spring of '07.

It was just after that ride on the Red Gran Sasso that I called up the LBS that built it and said 'make me a twin of this bike,' and ended up with the blue Gran Sasso above. I love these steel bikes!

A couple notes about riding the frankensteined Torelli above. I hate to say it, but it really rode pretty nice. I hate to say it because I just can't get into those wheels, and for sure not on that frame. That frame really deserves some classic Campy. Not necessarily old, just classic...more like the polished group and wheels that are on the red bike above. That change will definitley happen.

I've often heard people say 'that bike climbs like a goat,' and have always thought 'yeah, whatever...YOU either climb like a goat, or you don't...not the bike.' However, yesterday I may have changed my mind. When climbing up Ravena, I was amazed how little effort I was putting into my pedaling. I haven't been riding for over a month (well, aside from my short commute to work) so it's not that I'm particularly strong right just felt like I was on a bike escalator. Pushing down one pedal, but getting two strokes worth out of each one. It was really weird. Good, but weird. I hope I can replicate that when I change out everything.

Still some good riding days left before the rain comes...and really, still good riding days in there too. Get out and enjoy the sun!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Italy, Meet Japan...Japan, Meet Italy

I know what you're're wondering if it's even still legal for me to be blogging, but yes, they let me out once in a while to spread good cheer to the boys and girls. Don't get all comfy though, it could be another solid month before I make a post...I don't want you getting all spoiled or anything.

So they're still sweeping up the confetti from the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, but here I am to help do my part in bringing about global unification by helping Italy and Japan live alongside each other in glorious harmony. For the time being, I'm riding an Italian thoroughbred frame with top of the line Japanese components on it. Toss in a couple of American branded carbon fiber parts as well and some interesting color choices, and well, frankly it's a complete cycling melting pot. You really should just take a look:

Now onto the details. What you see here is a 20th Anniversary Torelli frame and fork. I've been lusting after these babies since I knew they existed. There were only 100 made, and I wasn't into cycling when they were made, so I totally missed out. I've been left to wandering the Ebay and Craigslist postings for the elusive handful of 20ths that would have been made in my actual size. This week I struck gold when I won one on Ebay...and for a price I was really pleased to pay.

What's crazy -- beyond the 'every color of the rainbow' scheme you see above (please note the purple bottle cages, blue wheels, and red valvestem caps) -- is that someone dressed up the classic Italian frame with Japanese components. Now, don't get me wrong, the Shimano Dura-Ace components that are on it are well sought after, and well respected. In the world of cycling groupsets, you basically have Campagnolo and Shimano, with a little SRAM thrown in to keep it interesting. In the professional 35mm camera world (and now digital) you have you Nikon and Canon. In the political world you have Dems and get the idea.

So I feel a little dirty with these Japanese parts on the Torelli...I'm really a Campy guy down deep, so it's probably bad that I admit that in the past couple days, it hasnt' been all that bad. The shifting is a little funky, since the shifters are actually part of the brakes. On the Campy, the shifters are under the brakes and apart, on Shimano, it makes the brakes feel like they have some side play in them. But other than that, shifting has been fairly crisp and the ride has been smooth.

Ultimately, I'll end up with a compete Campy group on this, and rid the bike of the carbon components in favor of all polished alloy, for a more classic look. I mean really, take a look at these lugs and tell me they don't just cry out for some classic looking gear on the whole bike.

I love polished lugs, and these are really nice. Check back later...more photos as she gets upgraded.