Posts Tagged ‘wheels’

Mosquito Bikes 1, Cycle Surgery 0

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Today was a triumph for the independent London bike store. I got better service and more straight-talking from Mosquito Bikes in about 5 minutes of phone conversation than in 6 weeks with Cycle Surgery.

First of all, a disclaimer – I’m not out to pan Cycle Surgery. They’re good for what they are, i.e. convenient, accessible, capable, multi-purpose, inner-city bike stores. I buy plenty of kit at CC (including my bike, let’s face it) and on balance they have the edge over Evans. However on this occasion they fell short of what I expected.

Rear wheel bearing

In late Feb I discovered play in my rear Fulcrum 7 wheel. The Fulcrum 7s came with my bike, so they’d had about 18 months of active service. I called CC, who advised me that the cartridge bearings could not be serviced, they could only be replaced with a new bearing. I placed an order on March 4th for a new bearing. CC even called me back to confirm the order had been placed, and to inform me I should receive a call in a few weeks’ time. Thankfully I already had my Neutrons by this point, so I just rode those. 

Weeks passed, no call from CC. I phoned a couple of times: the estimated time went from ‘2-3 weeks’ to ’28 days’. I called a month after I initially placed the order, only to be told that actually, because orders to the suppliers were only made once or twice a month, I could have been unlucky i.e. my order was only placed with the supplier in mid-March.

I was annoyed, but figured I would get a call at some point, I still had the Neutrons so what the hey. I considered calling Condor, but they’re being refurbished, and apparently refurbishment means you can’t even provide a phone number (even a voicemail service?) on your website. Another sad chapter in the chronically bad Condor website saga.

Cut the crap

This morning I cracked and called up Mosquito. Dean at Mosquito was helpful. He said they would be doing an order to the bearing supplier tonight, so could I bring my wheel down this afternoon to confirm exactly which bearing was required? I said I couldn’t, but would do the next morning. 5 minutes later I got a call from (mechanic?) Bertie at Mosquito, who, reasoning that my bearing could only be one of two possible types, had ordered both bearings, and would fit one of them tomorrow if I brought the wheel in first thing.

Totally awesome.

Clearly, for specific parts and fast, dedicated service, indie is the way.

Product review: Campagnolo Neutron Ultras

My new Campagnolo Neutron Ultra wheels have now been properly road tested and deserve a post all to themselves.

Branded wheel bags.

Branded wheel bags my friends.

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Clean styling and bladed spokes.

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On the rear wheel, the spokes connect with the rim asymmetrically on the non-drive side.

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Freehub body and carbon fibre hub casing.

As Joe predicted the Ultras’ understated looks and colour scheme match the Wilier perfectly.

On the road, the Ultras spin up much quicker than my Fulcrum 7s, and this is noticeable on the flat as well as when climbing. The front wheel is so feather-light that on fast descents it can feel a bit skittish, but for the weight saving (400g total) this is worth it. The rear wheel doesn’t seem to weigh much less than my Fulcrum rear, which is disappointing, but I blame the beast of a cassette (Centaur 13-29) I’ve fitted with La Marmotte in mind. This is one component that will be worth its weight penalty…

I bought the Ultras on Kompressor Bike, the super-cheap Luxembourg-based site offering big discounts over Wiggle and CRC.

Update @ June ’09:

The rear hub developed play after only 3 months use. It turned out a small part had broken inside and had to be replaced – not that great really, but it didn’t cost much and apparently these things happen?

Update @ September ’09:

A spoke on the rear wheel snapped without warning while I was out riding. I’ve been using the wheels consistently throughout the summer, but this isn’t heavy use. I do pump up the rear tyre to 110 psi, but that ought to be fine. So I just don’t think this is good enough for a £700 wheelset at 7 months old. Disappointing.

Update @ May ’10:

Another spoke on the rear wheel snapped 4 hours in to a sportive, bringing my event to an end. I’m afraid that’s the final straw for this wheelset. Clearly, they are not durable enough to withstand the rigours of UK roads. I didn’t ride these all winter, so it’s not like I’ve really hammered them, and I’m only 10st 8, so I’m not too heavy. Will now upgrade.

Update @ September ’10:

I had the rear wheel repaired by Brixton Cycles. According to them, some of the spokes had been incorrectly tightened by the previous repair (i.e. by Condor) – but they assured me that the wheel was now ready to ride again. I took the wheel back to Condor and asked for an explanation. They couldn’t really do much apart from check over the wheel once again and give it back to me. Since I bought a new set of wheels to replace the Neutrons, I’m still going to sell them – but at least it looks like whoever buys them will get plenty more life from them.

Wilier Mortirolo Veloce 07

The Wilier Mortirolo Veloce 2007 

The Wilier Mortirolo Veloce 2007

Here’s my bike. I’ve had it since early September 2007, and it’s performed handsomely in its first year of service. The only bits I’ve changed so far have been both tyres and numerous inner tubes – sharp flints are a regular hazard on the roads of southern England. 

Some upgrades are on the cards for next year however:

  • Wheels: splashing on a new set of wheels is probably the most sensible way to improve the bike’s performance and reduce the weight (by around 300-350g hopefully). Joe recommends the Campagnolo Neutrons
  • Pedals: some Look Keo carbons, for sure.
  • Bar / Stem: possible bling carbon action for the cockpit.
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