Boardman Team CX 2014

It’s Finally Here, My Boardman Team CX 2014

Did I Mention that I’ve had a New Bike?

The Story So Far

If you have been following my blog you will know that my Marin Bear Valley mountain bike died recently (see Alas No Cycling…), and that I have ordered a Boardman Team CX from Halfords. Well I’m happy to say that it has arrived, and after a few teething problems, which Halfords sorted out for me without any fuss, it is all set up and ready to go.

I Like to Tinker

When I picked the bike up, the lad in the store said “I’ve set the brakes up as best I can, but they are rubbing”. “This should settle down over the first hundred miles or so”. Well, as you might imagine, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with brake pads wearing out as a solution to poor adjustment, so I had a go myself when I got home. It turned out that the reason for the rubbing on the front disc brake was a warped disc, so no amount of adjustment would fix that. With the appalling weather that we have been having in the UK recently, it was a few days before I could take the bike out for a run round the block but, when I did, the gears made a lot of noise and not all of them were available. More tinkering required. The cable tension on the front derailleur was too loose causing insufficient travel, and the low and high stop screws for both the front and rear derailleurs also needed setting. The trouble was, the rear caddy was bent inwards towards the wheel, so if you made the mistake of trying to pedal backwards, the chain fell off. Time for a trip back to the store!!

In fairness when I took it back the engineer, who really knew his stuff, sorted the gears out on the spot, and was a pleasure to watch working. I hadn’t mentioned the disc brake issues, but he noticed and adjusted them both anyway. He swapped the front wheel out for one with a straight disc, and he was even dissatisfied with a tiny misalignment of the handlebars, and sorted that out too.

It disheartens me that so many things these days are not right first time, never mind first time, every time, but I suppose that the next best thing is prompt and effective remediation, and Halfords have certainly done that. The Boardman Team CX 2014 was very good value for money and the Halfords’ deal includes 3 years annual servicing.

Second Time Out

My second ride was much more successful. The gears were running smoothly and the bike was rattle-free (unlike the Marin) and pretty comfortable over the bumps. I realized that my riding position needed attention (the saddle height was too low, and needed to slide back slightly) and the front tyre pressure needed raising. The riding position is much more comfortable than the Marin ever was, with the consequence that I can now see much further down the road without hurting my neck. Just waiting for the weather to improve, and I can get back to building my fitness again.

Making the Best of a Photo Op

Purchasing a new bicycle is a rare occurrence for me (the last one being 20 odd years ago), so it seemed too good an opportunity to miss to photograph the CX. Now, had I had my wits about me, I might have researched how to do this skillfully beforehand. But hey, that’s not how to live on the edge, I can learn through doing. Better still, if I start this just before we are due to go out as a family, I can get some added time pressure and regular shouts to get a move on because it’s time to have my shower (thanks Helen!!). Perfect. No really.

The Shoot

Once again the weather was torrential and gale force, so the photography had to take place inside. I did not have an assistant, so I had to be a bit creative. Whole bike shots were out of the question, but detail shots seemed possible. I wanted an uncluttered background so I used one of my Lastolite (double sided black and white) panels. Lighting was an issue because I didn’t have time to set up flash, and because I was using the door frame between the kitchen and hallway to prop the bike up, I had to cope with a crossing cast because our kitchen has daylight balanced LED lighting, whilst the hallway has tungsten. In the event this worked out quite well because, if I turned off the hall lights, the white Lastolite panel was dimly illuminated by the kitchen lights (avoiding the cast) and which also brought the bike forward in the image, as it was brighter in the frame.

Camera and Lens

I was short of time so it boiled down to this. Do I go with my micro nikkor 105 f2.8 or my 28-300 f4.5-5.6 zoom? Given that the light was poor, plus I want to be able to play with depth of field, the macro lens gets it. So D3 plus 105. Why not D4 plus 105, with its better low light capability? Because the 105 was already on my D3 so that was quicker!

So, with no prior experience of shooting velocipedes, this is how it turned out.


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