I’ve been riding more often, some longer distances, and, occasionally, with others. Especially when riding with new Bike Austin friends, the need for speed has become more important. I especially noticed at the recent COTA ride that the drop bar riders definitely sped down the hills faster than me. Better bikes? More aerodynamic? Lighter weight? Probably all three and I started looking into a new bike. I soon ran into the “sportive/endurance bike” concept. I was hopeful that the relaxed geometry would make it easier to adapt to drop bars. I had never become comfortable on my previous drop bar ride.
First stop, Craigslist. I found this 2014 Diamondback in my size, and nearly new condition. I was pretty interested, this bike had Shimano 105, a carbon fork, and most important, it was the right size.
Unfortunately, he wouldn’t budge on price (as of this writing, still on CL at $50 less than original). Later I did some more research on the bike and quickly discovered that Diamondback had some steep discounts on 2017 bikes shipped direct. I ended up choosing the Century 1, which was a full 33% off of list price and, seemingly, VERY similar to the Century 2 from Craigslist. I doubt that I could have committed to a bike that I hadn’t test ridden. But the Craigslist bike test allayed that fear. That turned out to be “not-exactly-right”.
I had mixed feelings about losing the carbon fork, but I was gaining disc brakes, wider tires, and a brand new bike for only $150 over the Craigslist Century 2, no tax, free shipping. Seemed like a no-brainer.
The bike arrived in about a week and required only minimal, “Ready Ride” assembly (wheels, handlebars, saddle, and pedals ) plus a couple of minor brake and derailleur adjustments. Of note, there were a few scratches/dings in the paint, especially on the seat post.
Assembly completed and I hopped on for a quick test spin and discovered a big problem. “Big” as in big feet. Both heels would hit the chainstays on every crank revolution. A quick glance at the rear of the bike revealed the problem.
The chainstays bend noticeably outward to accommodate the 11-speed cluster on the right and the disc brake assembly on the left. That, combined with size 13 shoes, was a big problem.
Googling “heels hit chainstays” revealed a lot of ideas and potential solutions.
Going clipless with this bike was already on my mind, but I didn’t want to invest in that until I was certain that the bike worked for me (Diamondback has a 30 day return policy). And, although narrower shoes and clip adjustment might solve the problem, I’m likely to stick with platform pedals since so much of my riding is urban.
Pedal extenders, most notably Kneesavers, looked like my least expensive option to continue evaluating the bike. I ended up ordering a slightly less expensive alternative from Amazon mostly “because Prime”.
Two days later, I installed the extenders, which worked perfectly, at least at first. My primary concern was that the extenders might shift my knees into an uncomfortable position. I compared my foot separation with my daily ride, a Trek 7.3 and it seems comparable. The crank arms on the new Century are narrower than the Trek.
A problem arose quickly, though, on the first ride. The right side extender began to creak. I was initially concerned that I had a bottom bracket issue, but tracking it down to the extender/pedal connection was pretty straightforward. A quick re-tightening solved the problem. Until the following day, when it returned and quick become louder as it loosened further. Another REALLY TORQUING things down seemed to solve that, at least for the moment.
Unfortunately, in the process of removing and re-tightening the extenders, I managed to cross-thread the steel extender into the right side aluminum crank arm. With an abundance of caution and after several tries, I managed to get the pedals and extenders re-installed VERY tightly.
Even though I seemed to have the situation solved, the stock pedals were, frankly, crap. And I still felt a bit uneasy about the double connection using the extenders. Surely, someone manufactures long/oversize pedals? Of course they do, and of course, Amazon carries them. Two days later:
Had to go for the blue 🙂
Turns out these platforms are the exact same length from the crank to the outer edge as the stock pedals + extenders.
Now that I seem to have the pedals worked out, it’s time to start working on my neck muscles and racking up some miles.