And so it came to pass… after six & and half years and roughly 20,000 miles the ‘old faithful’ has been exchanged – I trust its new owner will enjoy it as I did. See the history of my old Specialised here: Bike (pre Sept 2017)
One of the reasons for the upgrade – chain & chain-set wear & maintenance, gear wear and maintenance.
Over the last 6 years, I have discovered that bike commuting 12-20 miles a day takes a large toll on the mechanics of a bike. The condition of our roads and bike paths throws dust, debris and all manner of crud into the mechanisms of a bike. Without regular cleaning and maintenance parts wear. Even with cleaning and maintenance parts wear! The novelty (and cost) of this is ok for some, but I am not naturally a dirty-hands bloke. I have to put a thankful word in, to the lads at City Cycles in Thurmaston – great service always!
So a Gates ‘Belt Drive’.
Gates say “Free yourself from oily, rusty chains… Clean. Smooth. Strong. … last longer than chains, never need grease and are nearly maintenance-free … goodbye to high-maintenance bike chains. Say hello to simplicity and fun.”
And ‘Hub Gears‘.
The Shimano Alfine 8 speed. Shimano say “a stylish and sophisticated way to enjoy the ultimate urban riding experience”. Reviews are good: “…does an impressive work … you don’t have a problem with its weight … rapid and silent functioning … unpretentious maintenance”
And the ‘Gazelle Ultimate S8‘.
I researched a good selection of belt drive city bikes. The interweb’s got a lot of good things to say. Thanks also to input from friends like 42 Bikes Dave and his research into a ‘Bike For Life’. Ultimately (forgive the pun), I landing on Gazelle, supplied locally by Future Cycles in Leicester.
Time will tell of course, but after a few good runs, I have to say “I am very pleased”! The ride is quiet, smooth and solid. The gears are simply a delight. I wondered if the gears would be enough but no worries there; flat out on the straight and down to near bottom for the few ‘hills’ on my commute (short sharp inclines).
A few tweaks to the delivery from the Netherlands. All thanks to amiable folks at Future Cycles in Leicester.
- I have retained my old Brooks Flyer saddle. It’s likely a friendly pair of old boots. The saddle that came with the Gazelle was hot and definitely not as comfortable.
- I have again opted for Marathon tyres, and moved from 32mm to 35mm to take a bit more of the tree-root-hit out of the ride.
- I have also kept my Jones handlebars and well worn Ergon grips. The bars are a more classic design that allows the rider to sit up more.
As I have said many times before, my riding style over the years, has changed from:
i. Trying to co-exist with motor traffic, riding a bike with a similar driverly attitude and outlook.
ii. Aiming to be more aware of place and adopting a more contented, mindful way…