Hello to all,
I'm 47, kind of an ex-jock in several sports (alpine skiing, tennis, b-ball, golf) looking to improve my fitness level and have fun! My bike is a 1981 Panasonic DX_4000 sport/touring bike which was given to me--gratis. I"m 6'2, 205 lbs. and the frame is 61 cm. I'm happy as a clam as I've not had a bike since my Schwinn Continental was ripped off when I was 15. (I know it weighed a ton, but I thought it was pretty hot then though I really wanted a Peugeot--in 1974).
As I was a bike/gearhead neophyte, I spent some money at the LBS to install new tires and tubes, have drops installed, and have it tuned up and checked out. So I now I have a VG road/light touring bike: Cr-MB, Tange No. 2 lightweight lugged frame w/Shimano 600 "Arabesque" drivetrain and sidepull brakes, with old 27 inch Araya wheels and 32 spokes, a 40-53 and 14-26 threaded freewheel, Ultegra 170 mm double crankset setup, friction shifters mounted down below, and period-correct 44 cm Modelo drops. The rear wheel spacing is 126 mm.
The bike rides like a dream--very comfortable and smooth--brakes are great, and the friction shifting is fine. I am comfortable with the drops and experience no discomfort either saddle-wise or back-wise. I try to knock off at least a 16 mile ride every night. I can do this comfortably in an hr. and this is on a narrow trail where one's speed is limited. I feel that my cycling spinning technique is improving and want to try group rides soon. I've done a 50 mile ride and my climbing technique here in the lower Hudson River valley is improving. I've invested in a pair of 2d hand clipless pedals (10 yr. old Shimanos that are great), bike shoes and a pair of bike shorts.
I want to rejigger the gearing (which will be a separate post), have the frame "cold set" and need to get wheels to accomodate 130 mm spacing. I'm now using 75 psi cheapie 27 inch Kendas w/a 1.25 tire width. I'd like to upgrade to a good quality 700 size wheel. I don't intend to race so ultra-light is not a concern but I want a good combination of strength, performance, and value for road use and light touring. For wheels I'm thinking: Mavic Open Pros which I understand will be about $225, Shimano 105's or maybe Ultegras. For tires, I'm thinking of a good performance road/touring tires from Continental, Michelin or Panaracer, in probably 25 or maybe 28 mm width.
Sorry to be long-winded, but specifically my questions are as follows:
1. Wheels: custom-build or stock?...I think Sheldon Brown's shop will do Mavics /w for about $225--other suggestions as to good wheelbuilders would be appreciated--any experiences with BikeParts USA custom builds? What about 2d-hand wheels from say Used Bike Warehouse on EBay?
2. Tires ?--Continental Gators seem to be heavy...how much anti-puncture protection is advisable...are the separate Kevlar strips a good idea...also Sheldon B. says 1.45 to 2.00 is a good ratio for bead width to tire width so I'm thinking a wheel with say 16mm bead width would be good...I'm throwing this out but have no idea as to actual widths and pros/cons. Thanks