Orbea Starship & Small, Local Hills

Altitude & Speed from 8-1-15 Ride

I stop a lot to take pictures

I took the Orbea out yesterday afternoon and rode a few small, local hills in the vicinity of my neighborhood.  The ride was fairly easy and just under 20 miles.  Magellan Cyclo 550 reports my average speed was 15.8 mph and my fastest 31.2.  Riding along suburban and country roads, one of my eyes is weeping due, I think, to allergies.  More salt water mixing with my sweat and blown back behind me like the windshield of an automobile spritzed by its hood-mounted washers seen from behind while under way.  So much sweat that no one who sees me will wonder, “Why is he crying?  If he feels that way about it, he shouldn’t be riding.”


When I started riding roadbikes, I pedaled the Razesa mostly on the small front chainring – about 42 teeth, I think, not 39.  Slowly and heavily I lumbered when riding on the big front ring.  So much so, that I only rarely tried it except when barreling downhill.

Since getting the Orbea, the cranset of which is not compact at 53/39, I’ve made it my goal to ride only the big chainring except during steeper climbs.  A young woman of my acquaintance has a blog entitled something like “Life on the Big Chainring.”  She and her husband race their bikes and are way more serious about cycling than I am, but that title is what inspired me to make the decision to adapt to my bike’s gearing and not worry about trying to find a Campagnolo Record 10-speed compact crank.  The recreational budget savings and hopefully strength and endurance gains I make should be worth whatever pain I endure to realize them.

As for making use of what I’ve got – I’ve taken the MKS Lambda pedals (remember, they’re the ones that resemble Gimli’s axe-head from the Lord of the Rings films) off the Supernova and put them on the Starship.  And what about these science-fiction and space phenomenon bike names, anyway?

The Orbea came with a set of Shimano SPD pedals, and I’d already got an even older pair of SPD pedals from odds-and-ends sale in the neighborhood.  While at Asheville, North Carolina, middle of last month, I bought a set of cleats thinking I’d try out those older pedals with my ancient Shimano SPD cycling shoes.  I threw away the shoes’ hardware with the box long ago, never intending to clip-in.  What I seem to have thrown away in addition to the cleats that came with the shoes were the cleat nuts that go inside the shoe, under the insole.  So, I have ordered some from Amazon.

During yesterday’s ride, I found I was able to ride up hills without too much difficulty and without having to resort to the bailout cog (26, 29 teeth – which is why the deraileur cage is on the long side, I think).  Also, increased pedaling effort seems to result in forward motion more easily than when riding either the Miyata 610 or the Jamis Supernova.  Maybe it is that while riding the Starship, I am more willing to make a greater effort when pedaling?  Possibly.  As the chart at the top of the post indicates, though, I’m not a very fast cyclist on flats or hills.

Some sad news is that I’ll have to sell my Bridgestone MB4 and very likely the Miyata 610 to make room in the garage for my more modern bicycles and to a small extent offset their cost.


New Bike–2003 Orbea Starship Campy Record


The Miyata 610 failed me by banging down into the smallest cog at the rear hub and failing to derail the chain at the front ring.  I walked up a hill I could have ridden in a reasonable gear.  The effort I expended to get the bike rolling again to get it shifted caused my heart to literally beat painfully against my ribcage.  That can’t be healthy.  When I got home after what should have been an easy 20-miler, I began to search Craigslist for a solution.

Here's the Distance/Altitude chart from the Sunday ride 8-2-15.  Although I rode the hills on the Orbea, I rode them slowly; very slowly.

Here’s the Distance/Altitude chart from the Sunday ride 8-2-15. Although I rode the hills on the Orbea, I rode them slowly; very slowly.

What I found was the bike I wanted to buy last year, listed at about half of last year’s asking price.  I’d thought the bike had sold because its previous listing had been removed, and I’d felt pretty sad about having had to settle for a lesser bike and get an upright freezer instead of an old superbike.  Even so, I made the right decision last year and both the freezer and the Jamis Supernova have provided better than expected service in their respective spheres of, er, serviceability.

So, there it was.  I exchanged emails with the seller who reported she’d tried to email me about the drop in price, but her communications had bounced back to her.  My email account’s provider has been having some odd problems over the past few weeks.  It’s probably bounced back notifications informing me I’ve won motorcycles and diesel pickup trucks, as well.  Still, the bike’s the thing.  Yesterday evening, I drove over to the seller’s house, near Nashville, looked the bike over, took it for a spin on a greenway path, and made the purchase.

I’ve only ridden two other bikes equipped with Campagnolo components – my friend Adrian’s 1987 Bianchi Trofeo, and the Cannondale R900 MOAB’s been trying to sell for the past year and a half – it’s got Veloce and some Cannondale parts.  The Trofeo’s got mostly Campagnolo, but downtube friction shifts.  The Orbea has got Campagnolo Record bottom bracket, headset, crankset, brakes, shifters, front and rear deraileurs.  The wheels and hubs are Bontrager, but spin well.  Fork’s Bontrager HCM – I think a straight-bladed cyclocross fork.  Stem and handlebars are Bontrager, as well.  The saddle, also Bontrager, is a nad-buster – hopefully, I’ll replace that soon.

Today, I rode the Orbea around the neighborhoods here  – about 13 miles – just to get a feel for the bike.  As noted, I found the saddle less than satisfactory.  The Campagnolo drivetrain seems a little more clickety than does the Supernova’s Dura-Ace and SRAM mix.  I rode the Orbea on the 53-tooth big ring without much trouble.  I think the large cog at the rear hub has about 29 teeth, which is helpful.

The bar-tape, which reminds me of the steering wheel wrap my parents had on their cars during the 1970s, is probably real leather.  And it’s degrading – as evidenced by the dark tan particles adhering to my cycling gloves and the black patches on the bars where the leathery shininess has worn off.  As for the bar, I can ride the drops and the hooks comfortably and still able to reach the brakes and shift-levers.  And at 42 cm, they’re wide enough for me.

It’s a pretty bike – the only jarringly off-kilter thing about it is the Bontrager bottle cage that’s off-center.  And only one bottle cage; why only one?  Here’re some of the picture I took today: