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“erba” First Ride

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“erba” First Ride

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Old 05-18-18, 04:13 PM
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“erba” First Ride

Initial Impressions

Just a bike.

No heart rate monitor, no speedometer, no time/distance read out, a time before all of this.

Remember?

Sure there was the funky mechanical speedometer/mileage gauges, huge chromed motor cycle sized, ticking away with each turn of the wheel. But no one who road this bike had such a thing. It was unnecessary.
This is a race bike, speed/distance irrelevant, are you on the wheel you need to be on or are you dropped? Nothing else counted, win the race/stage or finish in the peloton. Your eyes and body were all you needed, you watched and listened to your body and choose your moment. That’s what this bike is about.

OMG, what a grace. My Stevenson Custom over years has been dialed exactly into my body and after set up and a swap to a longer seat post, the measurements saddle clamp to pedal hole and saddle nose to middle of the stem are spot on identical on the “erba”. Now how does it feel, the ride will tell.

Friction, there’s more friction between the down tube shifter and the rear derailleur. Things rub entering the down tube, then rub across the bottom bracket to the chain stay tube and then rub exiting the chain stay into a lazy bow of tubing before feeding into the derailleur. How will this all work out? The ride will tell.

23cm tire = 120psi, haven’t seen that on my floor pump for…decades…have to watch real close for edges, gaps, all the forgotten things, and will the body accept this…now, decades later? The ride will tell.

Riding Impressions

The Suntour Superbe Pro (hidden spring) single pivot brakes are the best single pivot brakes I’ve ever used (by comparison I have ridden Campagnolo Record and Campagnolo Nuovo Record single pivot brakes). By this I mean that with my hands on the brake hoods I could reach two fingers around the top of the brake lever and bring the bike to a controlled stop, just as I can on my Stevenson Custom with dual pivot brakes. These single pivot brakes, brake the same as dual pivot brakes.

Like moving from a car to a Miata the handling and steering on this bike is immediate, you learn to control your inputs, slow down your hands, and all goes fine. Though it was interesting at a traffic circle how easily and quickly this bike would lean over and then after a brief “OH S**T” moment come back up.

This takes us to the front fork and the sensation that my hands and forearms were over the front axle of the bike. Made me think of “Tron” and the race cycle they would grab the front axle of to create. It felt like I was steering through the front axle and took a bit to get used to. Though at the back of the frame it wasn’t nearly as much like I was perched over the rear wheel, as is the case with my Nishiki Professional another early 80s racing bike.

What a beautiful frame, and understand what I am going to describe is with a 274lb rider, riding a 25cm front and 23 cm rear tire at 120 psi. Rootlets were there, but you just rode over them. I even sought out some to make sure and no problem, steel such a great frame material. But then there is the tubing choice and mastery of the builder, thanks again Mr. H. Hagiwara. There wasn’t the jar I had expected with my weight and high pressure tires, although on bridge edges I did rise out of the saddle, better for the bike and for me. I rode out to a particularly bad section of chip seal, about 200 yards worth. Again, the bike rolled over it and the road chatter was blunted rather than being sharpened as had occurred on my one aluminum road bike ( I will never forget riding it for 10 miles on really bad chip seal, the soles of my feet felt like they had been beaten by the time it was over).

Learning to shift down tubes again, but these micro Suntour Superbe Pro shifters are so so smooth. Again quiet hands, slow stead movement is rewarded with crisp shifts, and they stay shifted.

Finally, with the ride over, no pain in knees, ankles, hips, shoulders or back, by the greatest of good fortune the measurements for this bike matched my Stevenson Custom. Sure angles are likely different, but until something says ouch, this bike and my body are friends.

Priceless.

Last edited by since6; 05-18-18 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:17 PM
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There it is hanging in honor on the garage wall with even some dirt from the day’s ride to wipe off with a cup of coffee tomorrow morning.

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Old 05-18-18, 09:19 PM
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The final additions a Berthoud banana bag, and I was even able to fit a Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump under its strap. It rides just fine and gives me a real pump to inflate a tube to 120 psi without causing cardiac arrest. Gotta love that.

Again, thanks to all for your encouragement and support, it has been a great journey, or, to paraphrase Rick from Casablanca, “erba, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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Old 05-19-18, 07:58 AM
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"Nice" the "beautiful friendship" begins.

Unintended consequence.

Cleaning the "erba" for the first time I realized a wonderful thing about internally routed down tube cables which pass through the bottom bracket, they are out of your way. No more snagging the paper towel or tearing it, there's no cable to snag on. And the bottom bracket is without cables passing under it or through cable hangers. You can clean the whole thing and never once tear the paper towel.
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Old 05-19-18, 11:16 AM
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Since6, glad to hear your "new" bike rode so well. Can't wait to see the finished bike "in the metal."
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Old 05-19-18, 02:10 PM
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Old 05-19-18, 02:52 PM
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41Roadmaster we must plan an Orting ride, but give me about four weeks to see how the back is holding out, maybe in July? Also, plan not just to see, but to ride when we meet in Orting, it has a MTB stem so we can adjust for different leg lengths. And thanks non-fixie.

It's funny how when you remove cycle computer/heart rate monitor and just ride like we did for the first several decades with our bike how that changes you. There is no longer a focus to get there at a certain time, or, speed, or, heart rate range, instead you just ride, with a time to be back, but really not much else. I may leave this bike just like this, just so I can keep this feeling.

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Old 05-20-18, 05:28 AM
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It's wonderful to see this on the road again. Nice save, and I'm glad you are enjoying it.

Losing the cycle computer does wonderful things. I agree. I learned that years ago. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 05-20-18, 08:59 AM
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That's a really special bike.

I'd want to turn it around so I could see that Superbe Pro stuff on there.
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Old 05-20-18, 05:10 PM
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Ah, but Golden Boy then it's not ready to head out the garage door. But I do agree, it does have a better side, but it always makes me smile.
Just behind the Stevenson Custom the bike that fits just me.

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