My trusty steed of 17 years was acting funny in the shifters the other day so I took it into the shop. I was on my way to my swim workout when my mechanic sent me a message:
The front derailleur mount tab thing had split and was about ready to let the derailleur just fall off my bike. That explained why I was having trouble shifting into my big ring all of a sudden.
There was some consideration of whether it could be welded somehow or ground down and replaced by a clamp style derailleur, but at the end of the day it was just another step in a downward spiral that had been going on for a while. The bike was showing its age. It was getting less and less worth it to invest repair money in. I had been planning on getting a new ride next year; this just moved up the timetable.
I talked over options and was eventually convinced to test ride an Orbea Terra, which is technically a cross bike kind of, but has road bike geometry. So it’s a road bike you can put wider tires on. Which is a big advantage where I live because the roads aren’t great, and being able to ride on gravel opens up a lot more options.
I was concerned that it might be a slower solution. I am not objectively that concerned with speed but I didn’t want to feel like I was downgrading my ride, or riding a mountain bike.
I took the bike out for a spin of about 20 miles, with about 1600 ft of elevation, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. My average was great, easily comparable to my old road bike, if not faster, and I hit a max speed of 47 mph, which was perhaps my fastest descent all year — and I barely noticed.
The wide tires make for a really comfortable, stable ride, but don’t seem to sacrifice much speed at all, surprisingly. And it’s a carbon frame, so climbing felt light and strong. The gearing is different and will take some getting used to but I already like it a lot. I felt fast on the hills, both up and down.
Best of all, come race time I can put 25mm tires on it and I’ll be good to go.
I had been feeling pretty sad about losing my old friend. But things are looking up. And bonus points: I think my old ride should still be useful as an indoor trainer bike.