the birth date of the legendary english highwayman, dick turpin, is apparently specifically unknown. the best that we know is that he was baptised on 21 september 1705 and died in york on 7 april 1739, aged only 33. having joined a gang of deer thieves, he subsequently became a poacher, burglar, horse thief and killer, executed ultimately for horse theft.
the real dick turpin was almost undoubtedly at odds with the fictional character described by the victorian novelist william ainsworth who invented turpin's 200 mile overnight ride from london to york on black bess, a horse every bit as famous as turpin himself. oddly enough, tarnishing my family name, he had moved to yorkshire and adopted the alias, john palmer. magistrates discovered his real identity, however, by way of a letter he wrote to his brother-in-law, evidence that led to his conviction and subsequent execution.
the legend of dick turpin and his mythical ride (while being pursued by the law) from london to york ended with the collapse and death of black bess from the stress of having to maintain a pace that would keep turpin ahead of his pursuers. at this particular point, turpin is alleged to have said "that's funny, she's never done that before."
happily, my experience with campagnolo's potenza groupset has not only not ended in its demise but neither has it given cause for concern over having done the unexpected. this despite having to contend with islay's often inclement winter climate at the turn of the year. i have explained at great length my only concession to obsessive compulsive disorder with regard to the shininess of any bicycle chain, let alone the eleven-speed version currently propelling the colnago master. in my first review of the componentry i was slightly disparaging of campagnolo's insistence on retaining that special rivet and guide pin, when others have moved to the smart link. however, no matter the effort of propulsion required, particularly on a struggle up the 14% incline between kilchiaran and port charlotte on new year's day, the chain has complied more or less uncomplainingly.
only just yesterday when preparing the colnago for the sunday ride, i noted smatterings of ferrous oxide on that selfsame chain, obviously the result of last week's ride in imperious drizzle. however, a quick swipe with degreaser brought it back to an impressive lustre.
i still have work to do on the adjustment of the front derailleur, something that may possibly be the result of cable stretch but could be every bit as much to do with shoddy mechanics with the screwdriver. on the majority of occasions, shifting from inner to outer is accomplished with ease, but just when i least expect it, the chain continues on its merry way, overshifting the outer ring and depositing a smudge of oil on my bright blue shoes. fortunately switching back to the inner ring while soft pedalling has always resulted in continuance of forward motion without expletives.
compared to the competition, i am very much in favour of campagnolo's shifting system, offering a separate lever for each function. the improved design of the downshift button on the inside of the unit compared to that on the centaur levers which the potenza replaced and of which i was originally a bit dubious, has proved itself to be an ergonomic delight.
but in the long-term, campagnolo's newest groupset suffers from precisely the same problem afflicting both centaur and an ageing record/chorus groupset affixed to the colnago c40. rust. it is most noticeable on the cable pinch bolts on both calipers as well as on the front mech bolt plate. i really had rather hoped that campagnolo would have come to the realisation that not everyone lives in tuscany. and for the unit cost of each, surely it is not outwith the bounds of sensibility to fit stainless steel? i realise that potenza scarcely inhabits the upper echelon of campagnolo groupsets, but since even super-record suffers from the same affliction, this iniquity is apparently not price based.
if valentino campagnolo happens to be reading, perhaps you could put stainless steel bolts on the vicenza shopping list?
apart from that, the potenza groupset is not only a stylish addition to the range, but arguably functionally superior against aspects of vicenza's competitors. despite the superficial corrosion problem (and others are scarcely better), it's an impressive set of bits. the italian flag still proudly flies over the non-professional peloton.
sunday 22 january 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................