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Rear Mech Substitutions, Front mech Frustrations & Fettling the Fleet


Being the contradictory (some would say contrary) character I am, rummaging unearthed a good, little used LX rear mech. Undoubtedly, this venerable derailleur is the way forward for the Univega-breaking a high end road mech would’ve brought distress to my wallet and tears to my eyes. That sorted, the front mech went on a curious rebellion, refusing to trickle the chain onto the granny ring. Now at one level I’ve ample gearing outer and middle alone for riding fully laden up, down and along the Great Wall of China, much less tugging the tagalong. However, I am irked by things that don’t work properly and would like to be prepared come the time my son and I unexpectedly meet the mother of all inclines!

Shaun's gallery

It was one of those mornings… Try as I might, it wouldn’t be persuaded onto the granny ring-either that or it wouldn’t ascend the “biggie”. A quick cable change didn’t bring resounding joy but has improved things considerably. In over ten years since the original build, I’ve only just noticed quite how close the arms of the Stronglight road cranks run to the pronounced chainstays. Credit where it’s due, they’ve never presented any problems but I feel another substitution coming on in the form of a modified STX RC. It’s hiding away in storage and a perfect match for the inexplicably temperamental STX special edition front mech… The pie-plate however is staying-it’s been there for ten years and as uncool as it may be, should the rear mech ever turn cannibal, Univega, child and I will not go down like the proverbial tangled mess of spaghetti.

Elsewhere, there’s been some fettling of my beloved Holdsworth Road Path. Removing the redundant left lever saves a few grams and gives a less cluttered look and some experimentation allows me to tidily carry two bottles and a mini pump behind the saddle without fouling the seatpack- halleluiah! Found an old Thompson seatpost lying around-slightly scuffed but I might see if a local engineering firm can tidy it a little, taking it down from 27.2 to 26.8 into the bargain… The Teenage Dream does not escape either. There’s a carbon fork and Woodman Jupiter Aheadset in the hopper as replacement for the 531c near straight as damn it original. This, coupled with a lovely new stem should shave a few grams and bring the front-end bang up to date.



Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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