mrs washingmachinepost, who is mistress of the superstitious arts, has frequently reminded me that it is bad luck to wear a new pair of shoes for the first time if it's raining. and apparently the harbinger of poor fortune will also pay a visit if i dare to place said pair of shoes on the kitchen table in order to affix an appropriate set of cleats. as one devoid of a superstitious nature, i figure this is a bunch of hokum, but she who must be obeyed will have none of it.
i am fervently hoping that the same restriction does not apply to bicycle groupsets, for my first 'proper' ride on the colnago master, newly outfitted with campagnolo's latest potenza groupset was carried out in rain the likes of which i have rarely seen in recent times. to place this in perspective, on arriving back to the village of bowmore, there were white water rapids streaming from main street right across the junction with shore street and the drain at the cross roads half way to the round church had morphed into a fountain, sending four jets of water at least one foot into the air.
to be honest, that's hardly the best of conditions under which to assess the functionality of one of italy's finest sets of componentry. however, the plus side to such an inclement baptism (quite literally) revolved around the thought that if it survived that, all future ventures ought to be a walk in the park.
to be honest, i was less concerned about the efficacy of the groupset than of my skills at affixing everything to the bike in the first place. generally speaking, provided hydraulics and electronics are not involved, i'm generally a dab hand at this sort of thing, but even after having done so for more years than i care to recall, there's still that sneaking thought at the back of my mind that i may have missed something so obvious, that a mid-ride malfunction would be nothing less than embarrassing.
the potenza groupset is essentially fourth in line to the throne, preceded by the carbon inflected chorus, record and super record, to say nothing of the electronic versions of all three. oddly enough, though the potenza groupset is directly aimed at those who may usually opt for shimano's ultegra setup, campagnolo have said that there's no likelihood of an electronic version anytime soon. as an electronic agnostic, as far as i'm concerned, that's not much of a problem, but in these days of marketing parity, it does seem an odd choice.
however, suffice it to say, i do have serious misgivings over why anyone would opt to purchase any of the aforementioned superior groupsets. potenza to all intents and purposes is identical in looks to its big brothers, particularly in the anodised black version under review. the latest four-arm chainset, capable of accepting both standard and compact chainrings misses only the look of carbon fibre, though even the hollow crank arms are perhaps a tad heavier than burnt plastic and probably the same goes for the ergopower levers and eleven-speed rear mech, but functionally they seem identical. granted, carbon has the greater caché and undoubtedly lighter weight, but i figure the latter factor is one of little concern to most of us.
what was something of a revelation in these days of disc brakes was the stopping power offered by the alloy skeleton brakes. granted, i have the pads set mere millimetres from the rims, but before i had even left the safety of the car park at the foot of my road, i'd almost managed to tip myself over the handlebars. the colnago c40 owns a pair of elderly chorus calipers, dual-pivot up front and single-pivot at the rear. i've always found the braking power of those to be just the wrong side of adequate, but the potenza calipers which are dual-pivot front and back, offer handfuls of stopping power with all the modulation that an amateur roadie could need. there was no hint of any grabbing while slowing down.
i must put my hand up to failing miserably in the correct adjustment of the front gear mech. having plucked up the courage to shift into the big ring and appear to anyone able to see past windscreen wipers on maximum speed to be master of all i surveyed, the chain nonchalantly carried on over the big ring to settle on a rotating crank arm. i achieved this demonstration of ineptitude on two further occasions, remedying my potential embarrassment by shifting back to the inner ring while pedalling slowly and allowing the mech to place the chain just where it need to be at that point in time. doing so in torrential rain was accompanied by my sighs of relief; the thought of attempting to untangle a nice shiny chain while standing in six inches of deepening water was not high on my to-do list at the time.
stopping down the outer adjustment screw easily remedied this self-inflicted problem.
there have been a couple of trouble-free bike rides since that first skirmish in the rain, so presumably bad luck does not always follow the pattern prophesied by riding in new shoes in the wet.. i've had to adjust the cable tension on the rear mech, but that was hardly unexpected and it appears that i applied insufficent initial rotational force to the fixing bolt on the left lever. other than that, i have enjoyed every bit the same smooth luxury as campagnolo's factory sponsored teams.
if there's ever an opening in nairo's phalanx of domestiques, i do have a full movistar team kit in the cycling wardrobe...
to be continued.
monday 3 october 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................