Well, much was done this weekend.
The weekend began with the EJW Fair – a truly fun event with tons of employers. I ended up speaking with a few potentials employers and stopped in to say hello to my prior summer employer, the PD's Office. I found out that one of the cases I had worked on this summer was still going on, after a mistrial and not one but two nolle proses. Our guy’s witnesses had to come in 9 times, all told; the non-mistrial/non-nolle pros dates were all extensions due to the prosecution not having its case ready to go. Outrageous. When they couldn’t get their initial charge to stick they tried other charges. When that didn’t seem to work (their non-police witnesses have all disappeared), they got the INS involved. If anyone would like to spend a summer working within an easy non-car commute to DC, please contact me and I’ll be happy to respond to any questions you might have. I really can’t say enough about the program; good people and good work, work that is not only good to do (in the sense that you feel good about it and it gives you something), but work that *is in itself important*. This is a place where you can make a tangible difference in someone's life.
The Bike arrived on Friday. She came in her box, partially assembled, as advertised.
For those who are curious, I ordered through bikesdirect.com and am very pleased with what I got.
Here are the specs (the website for Bikesdirect is obnoxious, car-salesman-ish):
Frame: High Modulus CarbonFiber Mono-SeatStay, Kinesis Handmade Double-Butted 7005 Aluminum Main Frame with replaceable derailleur hanger and double water bottle brazeons.
Fork: Aero Kinesis Pro Carbon Fiber
Headset: Threadless Cane Creek Aheadset 1.125 inch Sealed Bearing
Derailleurs: Ultegra 6600 30SPD front and rear
Shifters: Ultegra 6610 30SPD STI
Crank: Ultegra 6600 30SPD 52/39/30T with integrated spindle and Ultegra Bottom bracket
Cassette: Ultegra 6600 30SPD 11-23 T
Chain: Ultegra CN-6600 10SPD
Brakes Ultegra BR6601
Hubs: Ritchey Comp OCR Sealed Bearing
Rims: Black Anodized Ritchey PRO DS OCR Technology, 20 Spoke front/24 Spoke rear, Machined Sidewalls
Tires: Kenda Kaliente IronCloak Kevlar bead 700X23c 189g
Saddle: M-Wings Systeme Racing V-cut
Seatpost: Ritchey Comp Road 27.2x300mm blk
Handlebars: Ritchey BIOMAX II
Final total weight is 19lbs. (Hush weighted in at 26lbs.)
Basically, the above means I got a pretty good deal. The groupset is 2005 Shimano Ultegra, 10 gears, triple ring. Were I to buy that directly from a retailer, I’d pay pretty much what I paid for the whole bike.
Now, that whole bike is definitely a mass produced bike out of Taiwan, with the stickers thrown on a generic frame, and a pretty decent wheelset/stem/handlebars in the Ritchey group. However, the frame rides pretty sweetly as far as I’m concerned – she’s more comfortable than the older generation of steel bikes, but you can still feel the road very well through the muting action of the carbon stays and fork. It seems well designed and the welds are precise and full. (The geometry is most likely a knock-off of another bike, perhaps a Fuji.) As an overall ride, she certainly an improvement over Hush, also an improvement over the aluminum bikes I’ve ridden in the past. I’d say she rides better than most of the bikes I’ve tested – smoother on the straight-aways and sharper and more stable on the corners. After some seat adjustments, her riding (not frame) geometry is identical (within a centimeter) to Hush.
The groupset is very very nice – fast, smooth, reliable shifting. I can easily accelerate up hills in the optimal gear thanks to the flightdeck shifters, instead of the downtube shifters. I’ve had some trouble with my computer on the new bike (I think the cord was weak and broke when I put it on the new bike), so I’m not sure how my timing will be on longer rides. I have to guess it will be improved though.
As far as assembly went, I had to put on the wheels, insert the seat post, clamp the stem onto the threadless headset, clamp the handlebars into the stem, thread the front brake wire into the front break and adjust that and all the break pads. Hmm. Oh – I also had to put the complimentary pedals on and put new cleats on my cycling shoes. One of the breaking cables had become misrouted on the top of the handlebar, so I had to unwrap and rewrap the handlebar tape in order to align it property. (There was an extra set of tape that came with the bike.) The saddle was a mass produced bargain basement saddle, so I put on my Specialized saddle (deeper groove means happier bloodflow).
The next thing I did (after I sized her and made sure I was going to keep her) was remove all the advertising stickers – I hate the fad of making bikes look like NASCAR cars. A bicycle is a beautiful thing - all the more so when it's simple and functional looking. (If I put any kind of decoration on her, I'm surely not going to advertise a company - in fact, if I'm going to carry optional advertising, I'd damn well better be paid for it.)
All in all, pending a few months/years of riding, I’d recommend the company to anyone who can handle a hexkey.
We also had a bitchin Halloween party featuring many of my fav. law school peeps. Alas, there is sickness among us and several notables stayed home to produce mucus. All the same, it was a very good time.
Somewhere in there were some test rides, a trips to the grocery store, a visit from the Compost Turner, a clearing of the Garden (dead stuff out – new space for a fall planting, if there’s any room left after our monster marigolds), fixing a few things about the house, the beginning of winterizing the house, cleaning, drinking wine, a breakfast brunch at the house, a free motorcycle (declined), reading a novel, and, of course, law, law law.