Over the past month, my bike has acquired a new seat, new handlebars, and a new crankset. The seat came at the recommendation of my sore butt, and the bars and cranks at the recommendation of my bike fitter. The question is: Has all this stuff made a difference?
You bet they have.
First, the seat. It’s a WTB Speed V. I’ve already posted on this. I still like it, and since I’ve had it for more than a month without any complaints, I guess I can keep it permanently. I wish I’d gone this route a long time ago.
The handlebars. I got a pair of 44 cm bars, although the bike fitter recommended 46 But he said I could get by with a minimum width of 44 centimeters. I picked up a used pair at a good price. Even though they’re only 2 cm wider than the old bars, I can feel the difference. There’s a less constricted feeling in the chest, resulting in a more comfortable riding position. The new bar is a smaller diameter than the bar it replaced, but that’s only really noticeable when I grab the top during climbs. Not a big deal.
The crankset. I replaced the Shimano Tiagra crankset that came with the bike with a Truvativ Rouleur. The new cranks are shorter — 172.5 mm instead of 175s. This is the change I was most interested in, because I was told it would make climbing easier. I suppose it has, although as noted here a few days ago, I’m working more on hills than I have in the past, so I’m getting stronger legs anyway. However, what I have noticed is that it makes turning the pedals easier. I get moving faster, and I run at a somewhat higher cadence than I had been. In other words, they’re easier to ride than the old cranks, and I am pleasantly surprised at the change.
So, as Don Blount reported last month, upgrading the bike results in a better ride. If you know what you need and have some spare cash lying around, you can coax more performance from your bike without having to spend big bucks for a whole new one.