Tag Archives: Shimano

Normal transmission has resumed…with fury

Dear Rouleurs,

It has been a while. MMT has been decompressing from an awful AFL season, work, 2 weeks of non-COVID respiratory illness and child induced deprivation. Much to his surprise he’s discovered that nearly 2 months has passed since his last blog entry. It really does seem such a long, long time ago. In that time, the La Vuelta, Olympics, UCI World Championships and….finally an actual Paris-Roubaix with rain and mud, have occurred. MMT will spend some mulling that over in a future blog.

However what is really on MMT’s mind is bicycle maintenance, bike shops, Shimano parts and COVID…again. MMT took his beloved Trek Domane SLR 6 in for a service, after an irritating creaking noise started a 3 month old replacement bottom bracket. MMT figured that some crud had flicked up off the road and strategically landed in the bearings. Sadly this turned out to be worn out crankset that simply wasn’t sitting on the bearings correctly. Mine you it took MMT to chase up the said bike shop to find that out.

Whilst chasing up bike shops to do their jobs, isn’t a new experience for MMT, being told that he had no hope in the short term of replacing the Shimano Ultegra 50-34t with similar model. Shimano has no available parts in Australia and there was no indication when they would be come available. Surprise!!! its been seriously impacted by COVID. A quick Google seemed to confirm that no one local seemed to have them either. Instead the said bike offered a silver Durace 53-39t….WTF. The good news is that crank is $400 and could be resold, the bad news is that it doesn’t match the rest of the group set in brand or colour and will be an absolute bitch to pedal up hill….sigh.

So with had recent experience MMT returned to the solace of the wonderful cycling cartoonist Dave Walker. Here’s what Dave drew that exactly capture the ripped off feeling MMT has.

MMT seems to be practising acceptance in lieu of the alternative which means putting the Domane up on a rack in the garage until parts become available. Levels of fury indeed.

Until next time, stay safe, ride well.


MMT’s gotta a new bike…woo hoo!!

Dear Rouleurs,

After many frustrating hours of window shopping MMT has finally purchased a new bike. Woo hoo!!! MMT has joined the ranks of cyclists that now own something loosely referred to as a gravel bike. MMT will revisit that theme later. The new bike is a 2021 Giant Content AR1. The AR bit stands for ‘All Road’.

Essentially was looking for a better quality commuter road bike that could handle more sedate offroad paths like railtrails. The other key requirement to The Giant Contend provides this via its relaxed geometry aluminium frame that can fit tyres up 38mm on 700c rims. The Contend comes with 32mm tubeless tyres, which MMT is having to get used to. MMT is struggling with the idea of running tyres at 50-65psi and not being able to easily fix punctures.

The other main requirement was for the bike have a drive train compatible with MMT’s Tacx Neo 2 trainer. MMT has Shimano Ultegra (50-34 and 11-32) on his Domane and trainer and wanted similiar groupset for reasons of compatibility. Happily, the Giant Contend is equipped with 105 (50-34 and 11-34) and not the more gravel popular GRX. Its also has hydraulic disc brakes…hooray.

Here’s the spec details plundered from Bikeradar.com

  • Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with a non-series RS510 chainset
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant P-R2 Disc wheelset
  • Giant Gavia Fondo 2 32mm tyres
  • Giant D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Giant D-Fuse D-shaped handlebars for increased comfort
  • 9.62kg claimed weight (medium)
  • note: that that its also has carbon fibre forks
  • £1,499 / $US1,550 / $AUD $2,499

It took MMT a long time to track down this bike. It first appeared on MMT’s radar late last year and has had generally favourable reviews. This one by Dave Rome at CyclingTips was one that convinced MMT, this was the correct choice.

Independant reviewers of the Contend have had consistent gripes.

a) The 105 shifters seem to rattle quite loudly on uneven surfaces – this is completely true. In fact, after riding super quiet and smooth Ultegra, its quite unnerving. MMT felt like that some bit of the bike was going to fall off.

b) The standard Giant tyres are a bit crap – the Gavia Fondo 2 tubeless aren’t very supple/grippy. Not sure about that one, they look more like commuter tyres than out and out gravel. So as long as they last and don’t puncture MMT can live with them.

c) The standard Giant rims are heavy – this is also true, the rims are heavy and the spokes are steel. A quick Google search suggests they weight just over 2.1 kgs. Hopefully this means they are indestructible and if broken cheap and easy to fix.

MMT’s other two gripes are that:

d) The Approach saddle just feels weird. Its quite hard and wide compared to the Selle C2 or quite firm Trek Montrose that MMT has placed his posterior on recently. If MMT could find a replacement Selle that was sub-$150 he would have bought it by now, and

e) The Shimano 105 shifter hoods are significantly bigger than the Ultegra hoods and feel quite bulbous to grip.

However this is all part and parcel of deciding which compromises you can live with on a sub-$2,500 bike. Coming back to Dave Rome’s review, fundamentally the bike is sound, has great quality running gear, a few minor quirks and is a bit heavy. It also only comes in a single colour…midnight blue. That sounds like a fair trade to MMT.

Until next time, ride safe, stay safe


Cermanic Speed is the future of road bike drive trains….WTF??

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT is still grappling with time poverty and sleep deprivation. With Bubba Mark 2, only 3 months away, MMT is beginning to think this will be a tough year. As harbinger of things to come, MMT watched Richmond’s AFL premiership hopes for 2019 nose dive last week. Alex Rance hobbled off the MCG with a season ending ACL injury. So AFL may not be a source of solace for the coming winter either. MMT digresses.

When MMT feels this out of sorts, thinking about buying a new bike always cheers MMT up. In the deep contemplation of road vs commuter vs gravel bikes as alternate replacements for MMT’s Venerable Wilier Laverdo, He re-discovered last years announcement from Ceramic Speed, a Danish bike components company.

Sometime in September 2017, ceramic Speed released a prototype road bike that contained a radical new drive train. This drive train based on a drive shaft rather than a chain meant that its power efficiency could reach 99%. That’s damn impressive and could give a rider a very significant speed advantage over his chain equipped competitors.  According to Ceramic Speed, a standard chain based drive train, like Shimano Durace has a maximum efficiency of 97%.

All of this is achieved by a pinion style drive shaft system. A total of 21 bearings play a crucial role in the functionality and efficiency of Driven. The bearings transfer torque from the front ring through the drive shaft, then onto the 13-speed rear cog.

Engineering aside, it looks amazing, like something out of a science fiction movie. MMT …sooooo… wants a bike that has this. No doubt this will cost big bucks when its eventually productionised and available to mug punters like MMT.

MMT could imagine Dave Brailsford, Manager of the team formerly known as Sky, signing up for this. One wonders how Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM will respond to this incredible looking piece of engineering. All of this speculation cheered up MMT no end.

Until Next time, Ride safe


Product Review: Shimano R107 shoes and 105-5800 SPD-SL Pedals


Dear Roulers,

Nearly three months ago, I purchased a shiny new pair of Shimano riding shoes and pedals. I had previously been riding around on Shimano MOV76 MTB shoes and SPD pedals. These have been awesome and I’m still using them for commuting. As beginner’s kit, they greatly assist the learning process of clicking in and out at traffic lights, whilst providing reasonable connection to the bike. SPD pedals are heavy-ish but nearly indestructible. Within 6 months of using them, I had converted every bike I own to SPDs.

However, I felt ,that in the quest to go a bit faster and a bit longer I, needed to try some new kit. I’m still procrastinating over rims but I felt an upgrade to new pedals and shoes would be a sound investment. So I bought a black and blue pair of Shimano R107s and a set of Shimano 105 SPD-SLs.


I’ll start with the Shoes.

Shimano R107 Road Shoes

The shoes are fairly light weight, quite stiff and IMHO look pretty good. I got them for what I consider to be a bargain on a internet bike shop at the princely price of $120. I’ve seen them in Melbourne based bike shoes for $60-$80 more. I ordered a size 42 which was the same size as the MOV77 and noticed that the fit is smaller and narrower. In hindsight I would have purchased size 43 to allow for winter socks and a slightly less constricted feel. The good news is that shoes are very well vented and cool. The bad news, at least during the cooler months, is that the shoes are very well vented and my feet are becoming ice blocks. I’m seriously contemplating overshoes to keep my feet dry and warm.
The only annoying gripe that I have is that Shimano don’t provide additional cleat screws and plates. I managed to lose one early on and fortunately the the kind chaps at City Cycle Galleria gave me spares. Overall I’m really impressed with quality of the shoes.

Shimano 105 5800 SPD-SLs

I bought these pedals on the strength of many outstanding reviews and this one in particular convinced me that this was the right option for the type of riding that I do.

They are a little tricky to fit, you have to use an allen key to tighten them into position. I now have a useless Park Tool pedal spanner 🙂
So the SPD-SLs….oh man I had no idea how difficult it is to clip into ‘Look’-a-like pedals. My initial ‘strike rate’ was about 25% and I was losing 30 to 45 seconds of time at traffic lights trying to clip in. Also, I had to unlearn the, now unwise, habit I had of resting my not clipped-in, right foot on the pedal. The combination of new slippery carbon fibre shoe sole and beautifully smooth pedal do not allow the rider to put any power into the reverse side of the pedal.

After my first couple of rides, I developed a bruise the size of an orange on the back my right calf muscle. I would miss the clip in or attempt to rest my foot on the pedal and have the crank spin round and smack the pedal into the back of my calf….ouch!!! I’ve figured out my own method for clicking in and I’m somewhere near 75% first time contact.

Now that I’ve been riding on them about 10 weeks I think I can say they were worth buying, although I haven’t necessary achieved the increase in speed that I was hoping for. I’ve fitted the yellow cleats in a neutral setting and I’m still fiddling my fit on the bike to find the best way of using them.  I’ve read that the blue ones might be better and I’ll try these next.

Finally its 3 more sleeps to the Tour De France and I can’t wait for 3 weeks of sleep deprivation 🙂