As luck would have it, the final (for now) finishing piece had arrived and the sun was shining.
So pedal straps in place, it was out to the garden for some quick pictures of the finished build and, though I say so myself, the Losa looks magnificent.
I’d said back near the start of this process, I wanted to build a bike that I could use and not just have it sitting there to be polished & looked at. Therefore, as the unusual sunshine had been accompanied by a couple of dry days previously, what better time than now?
Quickly throwing on some gear (several layers – the sun may be shining, but it’s still near zero out there!) I came to my first “challenge” of riding a vintage build – I can’t use my normal clipless shoes.
I knew this would be the case so had trainers ready, but I’ll need to invest in proper shoes/cleats later.
Armed with a bag full of tools (including the Campagnolo specials) I headed out, only to head back again within a mile when the tip of my saddle slipped and I realised I didn’t have the spanner for the seat post bolt. Saddle tightened and spanner added to tool bag I headed out again.
Not having ridden a bike with downtube shifters for probably the best part of 40 years it’s going to take me some time to get acclimitised to these again, as throughout the ride I kept trying to change gears at the brake levers!
The shifters are Syncro levers and for the moment I’ve left them in syncro-mode but may change to friction later – although 7-speed, they only seemed to syncro shift across 6 gears and needed a partial adjustment to hit the 7th (in the middle) so some tweaking required there to get the rear shifting working correctly (and some small adjustments to the front mech needed as well) but generally worked well (when I remembered to stretch my arm down…)
As to the brakes, I’m so glad I went for Monoplaners and not Deltas, they maybe don’t look quite so lovely but they worked very well (and for the eagle-eyed, don’t worry I will trim that loop of excess cable you may have seen in some of the pictures!).
Having been using clipless pedals for years, it’s going to take some time getting used to pedals and straps – I didn’t tighten the straps up at all during the ride and wearing trainers didn’t help with getting my feet back in after any stops, but I was managing by the end of the ride.
The related piece to worry or at least think about when I’m riding is how much lower to the ground the bottom bracket seems to be compared to today’s bikes (or at least those I’ve been using) as there didn’t seem to be much clearance between the cranks and the road when I was pedalling through corners – or maybe I was just leaning over further as it felt so good.
Overall, the handling of the Losa is fantastic – it feels really sharp and responsive especially round corners.
I suspect this is likely due to the shorter wheelbase courtesy of the recessed section on the seat tube which allows the rear wheel to sit further forward hugging the tube – as you can see in the picture on the right, it looks like the wheel is touching, but there is a gap there.
This had just been intended as a brief test ride so that I could make some final adjustments, but actually very few were needed and I ended up having a very enjoyable ride with a big smile on my face.
When I got home I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I’d recorded my 4th fastest time ever on a (flat) Strava segment I’ve ridden over 200 times previously (and I suspect I may well have been close on one of my favourite downhill segments near the end of ride if I hadn’t had to slow down for the car that overtook me and then proceeded to keep braking once he was in front!!)
So, it wasn’t just my imagination, the Losa is very nippy and I can’t wait to take it out for a good blast when the weather improves (and I have proper shoes!)