I think it is time for a big update as it is a great day today! The last bit of the important parts have arrived yesterday. It is a mini group-set containing STI brake levers and both derailleurs. When searching for a group-set I have favored Campagnolo as these bikes tend to look especially great with them. I think 2015 version of Equilibrium 20 phantom black is the most beautiful complete bike on sale that I have ever seen! However, Campagnolo is quite expensive and plus, I would have to redo the wheels as their cassettes are incompatible with Shimano hubs. Naturally, I should go with Shimano group-set then, you would think. However, I am not the fan of how the modern Shimano components look. There for I went for Microshift. Their 9 speed levers look great! And whole group-set is twice cheaper than Shimano counterpart.
With all of the remaining parts at hand and wife sent to rest somewhere out of town all that was left to do was to grab few bottles of kvass (drink made from fermented bread, popular in eastern Europe) and to start working. With the moon high in the sky, bike has been completed. Weight turned out to be 9.1 kilo for the bare bike and 9.7 kilo with all the gear (pump, toolbox, watter bottle, handlebar bag). Not too bad for a bike which has mudguards and a handlebar bag eh?
Woke up quite early this morning, needless to say, I was itching to test it. So I went for a short, 20 minute test ride, to see if everything is working well. First impression was wow, this frame is stiff and bike accelerates like rocket! However, something strange was happening with the steering wheel. It was all wobbly and I had to fight it in order to keep the bike straight. Turns out that headset was too tight.
After adjusting the headset, steering started to behave really nicely. Bike felt well balanced and handling was superb! As a matter of fact, I did not expect this bike to ride THAT good! It accelerates in no time, has good tracking, steering is responsive and precise both on rear and front. Tried to climb few of the steep hills that we have here and I was impressed with the traction! I kind of felt like the bike is working with me to beat that hill. It also descends really fast, I kid you not, I felt like flying and was quite scared of such speed! I think way more than 20 minutes have passed at that time :)
When I went for bumpy, mixed, gravel roads and tried to accelerate, I noticed that bike is quite comfy actually. It started to make loud, metal rattling noises however. I thought that they were coming from the mudguards. After investigation it turned out that mudguards were fine and pretty silent actually. The culprit turned out to be a brake cable which runs under the top tube. It was hitting the tube and thus bike rang like a bell! Had to pop into local bike shop to get some silicone o-rings, which would stop the rattle:
With that problem sorted, another one was noticed, the tension of the rear gear cable was off. Fortunately I did not had to even get off the bike to fix that. You cannot imagine how I appreciate these tension bolts on the head tube! These little guys not only make it easy to adjust tension while riding, but also protect the paint from the cable damage.
Brakes as a whole were disappointing and lacking. Sora brakes were not that great while I was using them on Koga-Miyata, but with the brake pads even lower... They kind of felt like cheese. Thus local bike shop came to the rescue once again. I have upgraded the pads for the ones with much softer compound and that was a noticeable improvement. Still I cannot call them great, but at least they work OK now. I kind of see why there is a disc brake version of Equilibrium (they should paint it better however).
Another mishap came to my attention after fixing the brake problem. For some reason I have attached the brake levers too low and thus could not control the bike efficiently from the hoods (felt comfy from the drops tough). And to add to this list, my saddle were pointing a little bit downwards as well.
But the wonderful part of this first trip was that even tough there were some bugs, mishaps and the bike was not adjusted to its best, the ride was fantastic! I can say for sure, this is a lovely bike that kept me riding on and on and on. After going out for a 20 minute test ride I have returned home after good four hours! This tells a lot I think. If this keeps up I might pedal to visit England one day ;)
Again, it was a lot of reading, I must thank everyone for bearing with me, please enjoy some pictures.