I approach this post with a degree of trepidation. As you are aware, Ol' Fuj and I have traveled many miles together and seen many unique places. We rode our first century (tornado assisted) together with the Terrier Man around Springfield, MO. We got hypothermic and had three flats in two miles at the Dam Jam century last year. We've been to Savoy, Oark, Smackover, LeCompte, Hogeye, and Alma. We have quite a history together, but alas, as winter began its annual (and welcomed!) demise, my mind begin to wander toward Atomic Number 6. Visions of components began to dance in my head.
Surreptitiously, I began to reconnoiter the LBSs in the area for something newer and lighter which was composed of that magic element. After much searching and hand wringing, I found a likely candidate. I loaded Fuj into the truck, and we went to the LBS. I road Fuj on a route out from the LBS and returned. Quickly, I rode the likely candidate on that same route and returned. Done! Whip out the check book! The cat was out of the bag. I wasn't sure how Fuj would take to this interloper. After all, we live in a small apartment, and you couldn't cuss a cat in this place without getting fur in your mouth.
I write the check and head home with two bikes in the truck, Ol' Fuj and the noob.
So, everybody, meet my new riding buddy, Slick. Sorry, but I'm given to naming things, and Slick is a perfectly good Southern name.
Slick is a brand new '08 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5, 60 cm frame. Did I mention I'm the frugal type? I got a good deal on this one as it is last year's model. I saw a smaller frame version in the shop and liked it. The owner said he had a new one of appropriate dimensions still in the box and would assemble it for me so that I could test ride it.
Slick is equipped with Shimano 105 everything: crank, shifters, derailleurs, cassette, and brakes. These aren't the best components on the market, but they are an upgrade for me. The crank was a 50-39-30, and the cassette is a 12-27.
I would have lost some low-end grunt as Ol' Fuj has the 30-tooth small ring and a 12-28 cassette. I got brave and installed a TA 28-tooth chainring. Did the work myself (nothing to the average guy... big accomplishment for me!)
There have been no ill effects from the 28-tooth ring. I did have to turn in the "B" screw on the rear derailleur. Shifting is smooth, and I have slightly more low-end grunt (27.0 gear inches) than I do with Ol' Fuj (27.9 gear inches).
Slick and I are still getting dialed in. We may need a slight fore/aft adjustment of the saddle and perhaps a shade shorter stem. Fuj is still getting the bigger rides, and there is peace in the kingdom.