Friday, 7 May 2010

First glimpse of new bike ...

I wonder if I'm alone in thinking that having your first ride on your new bike is an almost religious experience? Hopefully not because you're uncomfortable on a hard pew, but because there is something amazing about being the first person to ride on a new machine. You have to meet each other, get used to quirks, foibles, fumble awkwardly looking for the place it keeps its gears ... I think I'd better stop that analogy.

Well, I picked up my new Giant Seek Zero from the lovely people at E Chamberlain bikes. I took a couple of photos in the shop (I know, a bit sad, but as I said to the guys there "it will never be this new again so I must take a photo!") and set off on the Regent's Canal at Camden.

First realisation - it only has 8 gears. That's because it has hub gears (i.e.they are in encased rather than being exposed at the back). That felt strange. My new paniers (yes, I had to get those too - my old ones have lasted for about 10 years and are now ridden with holes) made a rattling noise which was mildly annoying. The brakes (disc rather than V-type) are surprisingly unresponsive - you have to squeeze quite a long way before they act, but when they kick in, they're very good. And what about the ride?

Well, great. I felt like I was flying when I reached a good flat empty bit of canal. You can really go fast. And I love the fact that it's so easy to change gears - you can even change down when you're stopped at a light. My verdict after a very short commute - an excellent bike, but one which will take a bit of getting used to!

The disc brakes

Distinctive wide look at the front

Giant Seek Zero at E Chamberlain's in Camden


Paul said...

Looks pretty cool, the disc brakes allow for a very clean look around the forks at the front.

KarmaCycle said...

Yes, thanks Paul - it's completely weird changing gears without having the whirring and clicking I used to ... but I'm getting used to it! And the strange thing is I didn't have nearly such a heavy work-out to get in this morning - the bike was clearly doing a fair bit of it for me! KC

Anonymous said...

Lovely looking bike. You are quite right about the excitement of a new bike, although for me the 'dream ride' is often the third or fourth time you get on it, after you've tweaked it so the fit is 'just so'.

Awfully sensible for commuting and around town use! It's ticking all of the boxes: hub gears? check. disc brakes? check. proper mudguards? check. panniers and rack? check.

Good choice.

About the discs: new disc brakes often take a little time to 'bed in' as the pads and rotors lose their 'clean' manufactured surface. The brakes should get more powerful pretty quickly. You can help this along by performing a number of hard stops (up to 20) from speed (basically, you want to get the pads really hot through use). You will need to do this again with each new set of pads, but once done the pads should last much longer.

The bigger problem in city use is not that the disc pads will wear out, but that they will get contaminated over time with oil and other greasy stuff off the road and stop working quite so well. This is still better than rim brakes where they collect glass and stones and then cut groves into the rim!

Enjoy your new bike.


KarmaCycle said...

Hey Adam, welcome to the blog and thanks for your very thoughtful and comprehensive comments. And the tip about how to "break in" the brakes is great - that would never have occurred to me.

My one worry - have I been just a teeny bit too sensible (!)? It certainly feels like a London Commuting Machine - very efficient, very strong, hard wearing. Will I slightly lose out on thrill factor? Actually I don't really think so as threading your way through London is more than thrilling enough. If I take to the countryside for "proper" cycling, things may change...

As I say, great to have your expert view on the blog - would be grateful if you dipped in every now and then and contributed as you clearly know what you're on about (unlike the author of this blog, who is a self-confessed enthusiastic amateur). KC

Natalie said...

Lovely new bike KC. Glad to see you went for the old Ortlieb panniers. Sometimes I find myself hankering after something stylish like a lovely tan leather pannier but every time it rains I am reminded why I went for my sensible Ortlieb. My only regret is that I didn't buy them in Berlin - I have red and I'm always seeing people with lovely orange ones there. Hey ho. Next time (if I'm still cycling by the time they wear out!)

KarmaCycle said...

Hi Natalie - haven't heard from you for a while (but I've been remiss of late anyway) and thanks for your comments re the bike. And yes - it was partly on your advice from a while back that I went for the Ortliebs. Yellow seemed to be the loudest most visible colour I could find. Somewhere on the blog I did take a picture of a very stylish cyclist who had matched the leather on her bike to her hand-bag ... great for style, perhaps not so great for the rain! KC

Natalie said...

Sorry for lack of comments lately KC. I suddenly realised you hadn't appeared in my reader for ages and came to check out the blog. And there were loads of posts that had passed me by. I don't know if I have a problem with my reader... Also, on a techie note, I can't choose to get further comments emailed to me from your blog any more so have to come back and find the post manually to see if there are any others. Just thought I'd let you know as it's hard to find out these things yourself sometimes.

KarmaCycle said...

Aha - thanks Nat! That explains a lot. I wonder if it's because I changed the template of my blog the other day and various things stopped working? Possibly. What do you use as a reader? I don't think I have one of those, but it sounds like I should! I guess you may not see this comment actually if you don't get them automatically ... I'll have to rely on you looking at the blog! I'll have a delve around in the settings to see if I've done something silly - very likely!
PS isn't it the best ever weather for cycling today! (Assuming you're in London and on a bike ... )

Natalie said...

I've checked back! I use the Blogger dashboard as a reader. You're right - it's a glorious day for cycling. Just as well as I left my sunglasses in a far flung post office and only remembered when I got home. But at least they were there when I went back! Even aggressive bus drivers couldn't stop me loving cycling today.