I've once again pimped up my randonneur bike Mr Ramen, this time with vintage Dura-Ace parts I scoured from ebay as well as a few other bits and pieces.
This pimping includes:
- BL-7200 Brake levers with cutouts
- BR-7200 Medium reach forged Dura-Ace brake calipers
- RD-7200 Dura-Ace Rear derailleur
- First generation Dura-Ace derailleur
- SL-7200 Dura-Ace shifters adapted to fit bar end pods
- Panaracer Pasela TourGuard white tyres 700x28c
- SKS Chromoplastic P35 narrow mudguards (I swapped the velo-orange ones onto my roadster)
So far the shifting is more or less the same as the Shimano 600 gear, but the brakes are a significantly better, I'm going to attribute this to the forged Dura-Ace calipers. The 600 calipers tend to flex a bit, however the Dura-Ace ones are rock solid, the construction is a lot meatier and it has a cross braced bit in one of the arms. Also the cable adjustment is a lot neater as is the quick release. The way the brake levers attach to the bars is different to the 600 levers as well, every major bolt is a 6mm allen key - this meant I had to re-wrap the bars again from scratch for the billionth time...
The rear derailleur is quite a work of art, the screw adjuster is fixed so that the angle it rotates as the jockey cage moves along the cluster. I had the 7200 front derailleur, but I decided to put on the first generation one instead because I like the way it looks with the cutouts, it complements the levers.
The other upgrade is the tyres, this probably made the most difference. I had Vittoria Randonneurs on prior to this, 700x35 on the front and 700x32 on the back, like most Italian brands there is a bit of poetic licence used with widths, the 35's measure at 32mm and the 32's measure at 28. The Paselas measure exactly at 28mm at 90psi (they are rated at 100psi max). Even though the Paselas weigh about 80g more each tyre due to the wire bead vs the kevlar bead of the Randos, they feel significantly lighter and more plush. I suspect it's because they are a bit thinner and more pliable and probably more susceptible to puncture as well.
It's hard to say but with these tyres the bike just feels like it should have felt when I set out to build it - it just glides over the road effortlessly, not quite as effortlessly as my Cinelli with 23c Gatorskins on a dead flat road though. Although on a typical crap Sydney road the Paselas are fantastic, they inspire a lot more confidence than skinny 23mm Gatorskins because they just soak up lots of little imperfections in the road and keep the bike settled. They also look hot, I do love my white tyres...
As much as I love the Velo-Orange mudguards, they don't quite fit very snugly with 28c tyres, the 35mm wide SKS chromoplastics fit very nicely and snug with a comfortable 5mm gap between it and the tyre. The narrowness makes them disappear visually with the white tyres and makes the bike look a lot less bulky and more lithe.
Since I have built the roadster as my main commuter I've been able to lighten this bike up a fair bit, weight comes in at a respectable 11.0kg in the trim as you see in the photos.