The big one, my absolute love of the cassette cogs I've been running recently. 9-speed. 12, 14-19, 21, 23 with 53-42-28 in front. Rode 70 miles solo yesterday with a 1000' climb at mile 50. My love of that set-up? I get to ride a straight block almost all of the time. That cassette means that with 2 double shifts, I can go from 53-14 to 28-19 on tooth at a time.
My mind says the missing 13 is a big deal, and if I were to go 10 speed, that's the one I would add. But in reality, I find I don't miss it at all. But having sweet one tooth shifts all day! Nice!
Brakes: Modern Tektro levers and dual pivots have too much power and have comfort issues. Yesterday I rode the good bike. That bike has Shimano dualies and old SunTour levers. Those SunTour levers were the first I truly loved; my first aero lever. Now they look skinny and the hood point really sharp. But the undersides have wonderful, smooth, rounded surfaces. I can climb out of the saddle for days on those levers and never chafe my fingers. I like the hand wrap of the Tektros much better, but I have to watch my hand positions or I will chafe through.
Back to brake power: Those old levers, circa 1990, paired up with the dual pivots have a wonderful feel, plenty of power and no surprises. Less powerful calipers on my fixie (SunTour Surberbe) paired up with Trektro levers have too much power and are scary downhill on poor pavement. I think I did one ride with those Tektro levers and dual pivots when IU was setting up my fixie. Never again!
I've been having fun with good tires. Have a pair of Challenge Strada 25s for my good fixie as well as Panasonic Paselas on a second set of wheels for around town. Bought a second set of Challenges for my good bike that I will pick up this afternoon. Also bought a pair of Challenge 30c tires for gravel roads. Yesterday I rode my older Vittoria Open Paves. Forgot how nice a compromise those tires are. Great light and thin chip seal tires. Wonderful downhill on rough, even very rough pavement. And those Open Paves are grippy enough that slip when climbing only happens in really slick conditions. No poser waste any other time.
Stem height: I love changing my stem height for different rides. Used to do it in my racing days. Norm was about a cm of quill showing. Criteriums and 1-2 races? Slammed. (All my stems of that era had dents in the throat.) Early season/epic rides? Up another cm.
I am getting back into the regular changes. Easy on Jessica J, the good fixie with irs traditional quill stem. I am beginning to get faster/ more accurate on the headset adjust for the good bike when I do the spacer swap. I have three different width spacers so I have about 1.5 cm of adjust and good options. Last two rides were 70 and 85 miles to I was about an 1/8th from full up. I was completely comfortable.
And comfort - a seat observation. I have Terry Fly saddles on my two good bikes and various Specialied Geometry Comps on the others. (The Specialized seats 1) opened my eyes 14 years ago to a seat this changing body could actually ride in comfort and 2) have plastic covering so sitting in the rain (locked to a rack) isn't going to hurt them.)
Yesterday I rode the Terry. As I often find, I had trouble getting comfortable in the early miles and was quite aware of the seat. Got a little concerned I might have issues later, especially since I did not use any chamois butter. But after mile 15, I never thought about the seat again. Not once. Got home and no issues whatsoever. This was not the first time I have seen this. I in fact prefer to ride the Specialized seats for short rides, but try to remember that the Terry's are so sweet for the big ones.
The seat related thought I was just reminded of is seatpost clamps. 2 bolt clamps are the way to go! Thompson clamps are sweet. Really easy to adjust with a small 5mm wrench. I can do a 1º tilt adjust and if I do not like it, go back to exactly where I was before. (But I do not think of the tilt in degrees. That would require measuring tools. I use 1/4 turns, 1/8th turns. Easy to judge exactly out on the road.) I have two Thompson clamps on my two custom TiCycles 60 mm setback posts. Recently made very small tweaks of both seats. Wow!
And funny! I've struggled with headset adjustments on both bike. Both have Chris Kings, one a 1" threadless, the other a 1" threaded; the new one with a collet. Both steerers are steel. I've talked to the builder of the good bike about going threaded and have ordered a conventional headset for the threaded fixie. Now that both headsets know their replacement is being discussed, guess what? They are both of good behavior!
Time to stop musing and do something!