With great excitement, I finally completed the bike this morning. It seems silly, but I was only really waiting on an 8 speed KMC quick link for the chain as it came without one. As soon as I’d connected the chain I almost took it out as it was, but the better half of me gave the bike its final once over, tightening every bolt to ensure it was really ready (glad I did as a few of them were still loose).
For me, this has been a 28 year long wait, and today I’d finally ride the bike I dreamt of as an 18 year old student. I’d heard that the early Dyna Tech frames were better, and they had a slightly different ride from their later versions, but the reality was that I didn’t really have a clue as I’d only ridden the later versions. With trepidation I got changed and strolled the bike to the front of the driveway, threw a leg over, and quickly got it up to some speed. It’s smooth, really smooth! The bike feels very much like some of the top end Italian steel, but lighter. High end steel usually lends itself to being a good balance of stiffness and compliance, which this was very similar. Obviously, the 753 front and rear ends help translate this quality to the rider. Whereas most of the Italian bikes are flamboyant in their chromework, paint and components, this is quite understated, industrial, and low key (despite the amount of polishing I’ve done). It felt very responsive on the road, whether I was pushing the biggest gears on the flat, or out of the saddle on punchy little climbs - it just did what I asked, and did it with ease. The Dura Ace components feel about 10 years ahead of Campagnolo, with very precise shifting, and a keen eye on weight reduction. After spending my adult life ignoring Japan’s finest groupsets in favour of Italy’s, I have now developed a deep understanding and appreciation of Shimano’s jewel in their crown. An under valued workhorse that will only appreciate in value over the coming years, as others recognise its importance in redefining the standards of performance.
I mentioned earlier that I wasn't happy with the cassette I'd installed, and that I was hunting for a nice Titanium one for the job. Well, it didn't take all that long really. I managed to pick up a TNT Titanium cassette with very minimal use. The only thing I don't like about it are the anodised Blue spacers, so I'll butcher a dead Dura Ace cassette and use its Silver spacers instead.