My 2016 Winter Bikes

My two winter bikes are so different to each other……


The Lomas is a nice bike to ride that seems to eat the miles without you realising how many you have actually covered. The set up I have is ideal for me , the newly rebuilt 27” x 1 1/14 wheels with Schwalbe tyres fitted give it a smooth feel on the road and the tyres throw up loads of water to make the going as sure footed as possible when the going gets wet .



G.E.R Lomas

The old centre pull calipers that are fitted with Kool stop pads work as well as expected when you give the levers enough pressure to activate them via the new cable I fitted during its re commissioning .



G.E.R Lomas

The gearing has so far been up to all the tasks I have asked of it, with a 52/42 chain set and a six speed rear cog set that ranges from 28 down to 13 from memory provide enough pace to roll along without spinning myself into oblivion and also give me enough climbing power to pedal my way to the top of any hill I have found so far on its travels around the corner of Northamptonshire I live and ride in .


G.E.R Lomas


Its bright orange paintwork makes it stand out from the more mundane darker matt colours that most new bikes seem to be offered with these days.



Genesis cdf

The second of my winter bikes is the mid 1980’s Puch Mirage which feels a much more nimble machine to ride with its Reynolds 501 tubing and a set of front forks that are made with Puch’s own grade chro mo . This makes for a nice lively set up which is also stiff when stamping on the pedals .



Puch Mistral se


This bike was originally supplied with sprint and tubs from new so to keep its light weight image I opted for a set of 700c Campagnolo Berlin 36 rimmed training wheels fitted with 700 x 23 Vittorio Rubino tyres . This is a nice set of wheels and tyres that ride lovely but when you are on smooth tarmac you can just about feel a slight vibration but seeing as smooth tarmac is a rarity it’s not an issue to me .



Puch Mistral se


With the use of some P clips I have even fitted a nice set of white Blumel Classique guards to this white bike and even if I say so myself it all adds up to a nice pretty looking bike with the original matching decals . These guards make the bike much more useable in the Great British weather and they also save the back of your clothing being splattered with all sorts of thrown up road spray .



Puch Mistral se

The “Golden Arrow “ group set is still complete apart from the crankset which has been replaced by a Campagnolo unit as I have still not been able to separate the crank from the bottom bracket spindle . The calipers have been fitted with some rather noisy in action Clarke pads that actually do provide some all-round stopping power . The gear changes are nice and crisp in action now that the original cables have been replaced with some new ones along with new chain and 7 speed rear cassette .



Puch Mistral se


I am looking forward to covering plenty of winter miles on both of these bikes over the next few months unless of course somebody comes along with an offer I can’t refuse ………..

Carrera Ramblings

The last few days have seen me using a 2013/4 Model Carrera TDF ltd road bike , and to be honest it was a nice bike that I have always said is an ideal introduction to the world of road bikes without breaking the bank too much .

Carrera Ltd

A lot of people sneer at the idea of using a bike supplied by Halfords for whatever reason. Yes, I am sure quite a few people can re tell horror stories galore about them , but then there will always be bad tales about any shop or retailer if you look hard enough . I must admit my local Halfords doesn’t seem too bad in all fairness .

I have owned a couple of the earlier 1990’s Carrera road bikes and I have always liked them and they normally come with some great retro paint jobs to boot .

The bike I was using was in standard specification apart from a change of tyres . I normally ride 80’s road bikes with non-indexed gearing and side pull brakes so it always makes a change to try a bike with modern calipers and sti controlled gearing . Although the Shimano Tourney gear levers and mechanisms fitted are at the lower end of the range offered I found them perfectly fine in operation in comparison to my regular mounts . Shifting the levers brought a resounding click as either mechanism moved the chain to whatever gear it was being asked to do .

Carrera sti

A couple of weeks ago I used the Ridley cross bow I blogged about and that is fitted with Campagnola Veloce sti control units mated to shimano 105 and sora mechanisms and these were a lot quieter and smoother in operation for sure . But then the cost of the sti units and mechanisms alone are more than the Carrera TDF sell for new .

Campagnolo Veloce

I also used my time on the Carrera as a comparison to the steel retro road bikes I normally ride. The first thing I noticed was that it felt a bit lighter but certainly not by a lot, even when fitted with a carbon fork . The quality of ride was good and felt smooth on the mixture of roads and cycle paths I rode it on . The handling was not as precise and positive compared to the Aende I have been using lately even though both were fitted with Vittorio Rubino tyres .


The other thing I did notice was that the Carrera didn’t feel like a hooligans bike like some do i.e. the Dave Hinde I have at the moment makes you feel like you have to ride it as fast as possible at all times whereas the TDF was quite happy bumbling along .

Dave Hinde

Frame construction on the Carrera was quite well finished for what is a lower end bike and the welds were not too big and ugly in all fairness . But I could never get excited about a welded joint especially when comparing to a lugged frame .

Dave Hinde

My overall thoughts on the Carrera was that it would make a great intro road bike if the buyer wanted a new  bike for the same price you can buy a good quality steel retro bike with a lot more character and style . The bike arrived with a rear hub that needed rebuilding so I think anybody buying a new one would be well advised to have the hubs checked and adjusted before taking delivery .

Project Ridley

My latest project is a bit of a change from the regular bikes I buy and sell. A couple of months ago I thought I would have a try at a more modern bike so I started to keep an eye open for a likely frame. A few came along but none were hitting the spot then, out of the blue, came an opportunity to buy a lightly used 2009 Ridley X bow frameset that was about 85% of a complete bike and not just a bare frame. The price was right, the components included were right, the colour and condition were right, the only bit that I was not totally sure about was the frame size, as the seller had it listed as a 60cm sized frame that should be suitable for people 5ft 10” upwards .

 Ridley Crossbow

Seeing as I am 5ft 10” tall I thought it’s got to be worth a try , so the purchase was completed and the frame duly arrived a couple of days later . Upon a closer inspection I was more than impressed with it as it came with a lightly used Shimano 105 compact chainset, Ultegra rear mechanism, 105 front mechanism (all for 9 speed) , Shimano V brakes ,carbon fork and an Easton seat post .

 Ridley seat post

The condition reflected what the seller was telling me ie it had only been used for approx. 300 road miles early in its life and since then it had been in storage . There are some light storage related marks on the frame but nothing major and some of them should clean up okay .

 Ridley Crank

I tucked the frame away in the garage till I had a gap in the project to do list and started to think about what components to use on it . I acquired an Aende road bike a couple of weeks later and that came with a nice pair of Campagnola and Ambrosio wheels that were 9 speed specific and also came with a set of Campagnola 9 speed sti units .

Aende TT

With a gap appearing I decided last weekend that the next project would be this rather than the R.E.W Reynolds that was due to be next on the list .

 R.E.W 1st stage

Ridley has a very good reputation and image in the cycling world and I should think there are quite a few cyclists that have never heard of the name never mind experienced them . The quality of the workmanship looks to be very good and it certainly looks worthy of the image that the Ridley name has .

I am quite excited to sample another modern frameset made with alloy and carbon components and modern gear changing compared to the older style steel frameset with side pull calipers and down tube mounted non indexed gear shifting . It certainly should be the lightest bike I have ever owned and is the only cyclocross bike I have experienced .

 Ridley x box

I have gone for narrower road wheels rather than wider cyclocross ones and will be fitting 700 x 25c tyres so all in all it will be a road bike built around a cyclocross frameset . I should think a swap of wheels and tyres would make it suitable again for a bit of crossing . I think I will need to swap the stem over for a flatter item but will see once it’s up and running before making that decision .

Its Ready

Up at 5.30 am this morning to fit the newly arrived Vittoria Rubino’s to last weeks arrival the Hardisty as that finishes the work that i wanted to get done before i can start using it for commuting and further afield testing rides .