LOOK 585 upgrades

When I had my current road bike built, I wanted to to pick each out component. It was the first time I bought a bike not “off the rack.” The one component that I did not pick specifically for this bike was the stem – I had a 3T Less on hand already, and it was fine. As stems go, there really isn’t all that much to decide anyway other than whether to go carbon. I like carbon, a lot, but I don’t see the point when it comes to stems – carbon stems don’t weigh any less, and just the idea of catastrophic failure (unlikely as that may be) at such a critical place is enough to make me stick with good old aluminum. Pick your size, maybe there is a brand you have some loyalty to, and your done.

Until now. FSA just came out with a version of their OS-115 stem in… are you ready… WHITE! Oh my God! A white stem, with my white frame (and white saddle, and white handlebar tape – you get the picture). Not to mention light (only 138 g), shotpeened for strength, a 4-bolt carbon faceplate, and titanium hardware. Did I mention – it’s white! Well, I just had to have one, and after months of backordered waiting it finally came. This stem is more than just pretty, it makes my knees buckle! Considering also that my handlebars are FSA K-Wings, it’s a perfect match. Check out stage 1 of this past weekend’s series of upgrades…

The computer I had been using for my bike is the Mavic Wintech. This was the third WinTech I’ve bought (I have them on my crit and TT bikes, also), so it goes without saying that I’ve been pretty happy with this model. It’s a basic computer that tells you all the basic things (speed, miles, elapsed time, blah blah) in an elegant, wireless design. My wife, however, knew I wanted more, so for my birthday last month she bought me a Garmin Edge 350. I was just waiting for the stem to arrive before I mounted the new computer, so with that done I present unpgrade number 2…

So, now I not only have a computer that is clean, wireless, and stem-mounted, but also one with GPS capabilities. I’m just getting into figuring out how to use it, so it’s rather overwhelming still. Of course, these kinds of cockpit improvement demand new handlebar tape. I’ve been using Stella Azurra since I first built the bike, which I love for its classic stitched leather look and tacky feel, but I’ve not been thrilled with how quickly the white version became dirty and how difficult it is to clean. Back when I got my Fizik Aqua & Sappone Team Arione white saddle, included in the deal was a set of white Fizik handlebar tape. I’ve talked to a few other folks who say the Fizik white tape does not get dirty fast and cleans very easy, so I decided to give it a try. After I stripped off the old tape, I waffled about whether to install the Fizik tape “logo exposed” or “logo hidden.” I went with exposed, since my bike already seems to represent the “logo look” to the extreme, might as well go full bore! I have to admit, I love the look – you can judge for yourself…

I hate saddle bags. Velcro may be a wonder material, but the straps that hold the bag in place invariably rub against your shorts, abrading the thin inner thigh panels, and the seat post straps cause dulling on the finish of finely glossed carbon posts. I’ve tried those little pocket pouches instead, but I didn’t like the weighty feeling in my back pocket, and I kept forgetting to put it in my pocket. Well, for those lucky enough to have a 2007 or later vintage Fizik saddle, the Fizik ICS (integrated clip system) saddle bag is the trick. The bag attaches directly to the saddle via a small male end that fits into a receptacle on the saddle underside. Clip in, clip out, no velcro, no straps, no more rubbing. I got the small one, and with some creative packing was able to put a spare tube, two CO2 cartridges (16g), a tire lever, a small patch kit, a small multitool, and an inflator (Innovations Air Chuck – essentially just a head). I’ve had a couple flats since installing it, and unlike my strapped bags, I did not need to take it off the saddle in order to get everything out (but even if you did need to remove it, it’s just a push of a button). Here’s how it looks…

Here’s the finished product. For those of you worried I’ve gone overboard on the white thing, I don’t think I can do much more. White handlebars, maybe – but I like the K-Wings a lot, and since they’re covered with white tape what’s the point? White shoes – got ’em. White helmet – nah. White shorts – oh Lord no!

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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13 Responses to LOOK 585 upgrades

  1. Bobber says:

    Very nice. Only thing is, you might be hard to find in a snow storm!

  2. James Nelson says:

    your bike needs some mud and dirt on it. when are you going to ride mountain bikes again?

  3. Daniel B. says:

    evidently, Ritchey is due to come out with a bunch of white parts… a carbon white seatpost might be in your future! Sweet jesus!

  4. Boz says:

    White carbon fiber headset spacers. Or better yet, use a combo of white and red ones. Ooo-la-la, tres chic! I may try that white Fizik tape. I’m using Deda’s white tape and it gets dirty just putting it on!

  5. Ted M. says:

    Ooo, white spacers – I didn’t think of that!

    James – I’ll MTB again when I get bored with road, but with all these new parts that might be awhile. And it’s gotta dry out – I hate mud!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit I’m jealous. So this comment is totally sour grapes, but lets inject a little perspective here too. The people are starving – let them eat white carbon parts!

    (now you’ve got a reason to do Babler Beast – the satisfaction of grinding my sarcastic self into the dust)

  7. Anonymous says:

    shoot, somebody tell me how to delete these comments anyway… Ted, I’m really sorry, I am. It was a stupid snide comment. I apologize.


  8. Ted M. says:

    I thought it was funny as hell.

    Run, bike, run, huh? Hmm, I can do that!

  9. Anonymous says:

    thx much for yer charitabulness. I thought your ‘good ted/bad ted’ was hilarious and should be in a magazine. i used to be torn between carbon part or send check to food for poor. at this point my financial state obviates that choice, just send the check. in a way being ‘poor’ is like being rich, no worries.

    but i already paid for babler, heh, heh no refunds.


  10. Anonymous says:

    there i go again. what a pathetic poser. i did send a check, but it was less than the race tire that blew out after 3 rides. ok i’ll shut up now. really enjoy your blog.


  11. Jim says:

    There was a dude at the Washington MO Crit that had the white bike, white stem and even white bars, not just tape. I stopped in my tracks to stare for a moment.

    If I were to make one suggestion that has not been mentioned… white zip ties around the stem for the Garmin

  12. Ted M. says:

    Jim – I bet that was Rick George from Mesa, a faster than $hit 50+ who also does a mean biathlon. I couldn’t stopped staring at his bike at State RR – until I got dropped! White cable ties – good idea, but they’ve gotta be white, white, not that transluscent half-clear plastic.

    Rudy – glad you like my blog. The Beast is on my calender, see you then!

  13. Anonymous says:

    All right i vote to keep the carbon spacers. I love the white stem…very euro chic. Now maybe three smaller spacer with white red and white….thats the ticket!

    Greg no longer a lurker 😉

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