Critical Section

weird disaster recovery!

Sunday,  03/01/09  09:05 AM

I have some fantastic news to report: I have officially recovered from my weird disaster!

Kestrel recovery! - an awesome perfect repair, with a new dropout   
check out this repair - new dropout was machined
and bonded back into the stays
looks really good

Kestrel recovery! - the alignment is perfect   
the axle alignment is perfect
and we have a spiffy new derailleur

Kestrel recovery! - I'm so glad to have it back :)   
a happy Kestrel, ready for the next double century!

Yesterday afternoon I did a great ride up Decker, down Mulholland, up Encinal, and back down Decker.  On my Kestrel.  Which has been repaired.  Successfully.  And most excellently.  YAY.

You will perhaps recall, about six weeks ago I ran over a coat hanger which nearly destroyed my trusty 9-year-old Kestrel road bike.  This prompted me to begin dreamin' Orca (getting a new bike), and I contemplated whether it was lust or love.  I then spent a week test riding new bikes, including a Cervélo, a Pinarello, a Felt and another Pinarello, and then ultimately decided it was lust and not love (i.e. I did not get a new bike).

In the meantime I found RoadRunner Velo, a shop which said they could repair my Kestrel, and mailed off my bike to them.  And through blogging met Brenda Lyons, area rep for Kestrel, who introduced me to Kestrel's new bikes and got me thinking about buying one of them.  Turns out Kestrel are sponsoring the Rock Racing pro cycling team, who would be competing the in Tour of California, and I had a chance to oogle the new bikes (which are not available to consumers yet) while watching the Solvang Time Trials.  And somewhere in there I had a first date with an Orca, which didn't go as well as I'd hoped.

Time will tell whether this repair is truly as strong and stiff as the original, but the early returns are really positive.  The bike felt exactly the way I remembered.  In fact in the course of riding so many other bikes I've become more aware of the various ways bikes differ, and I must tell you it was really great to be back on my bike.  The Kestrel has a soft fork, which makes for a cushy ride, and yet the bottom bracket and stays are stiff, which makes it accelerate quickly.  And it is light, so it is a great climber.  I really appreciate this machine.

One thing I did notice: my time trial bars make for a really heavy handlebar; the steering [now] feels sluggish.  Perhaps it is time for a nice integrated carbon handlebar / TT bar setup.  It would be cool and way cheaper than a new bike :)

So - I have my bike back, and I've learned a lot.  (And had a lot to blog about.)  And the story isn't quite finished, because there are still those new Kestrel RT900s coming out, and I plan to stay in touch with Brenda and ride one as soon as I can.  Who knows...  In the meantime I am excited; there is a 400K next weekend and yes I am planning to ride...  stay tuned!

[Update Sunday 3/1/09: So I rode the bike again today, and really I have to say this repair is perfect.  The bike feels exactly the same, and the craftsmanship is wonderful; you have to look really close to even notice something was done.  And nobody who didn't know could ever tell that the dropout is not original equipment.  My hat is fully off to Edgar Chavez and his team at RoadRunner Velo!]

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