We often receive bike upgrade requests. The reasons could vary – the client’s very fond of the frame and wants to upgrade to newer components; their needs have changed but not enough to warrant a whole new bike and so on.
This particular upgrade was special because Prachi Sharma is a friend of the store. She’s a swimmer & runner, with a couple of “mini triathlons” as she calls them, under her belt. A more enthusiastic ocean swimmer, we are yet to see. Thanks to the pandemic, all her hopes for triathlons and trips to the ocean were dashed for the year. Worse still, pools were closed too.
Prachi owns a Specialized Dolce. It was a recent birthday gift that tied in to a resolve to pick up a new skill this year. No swimming + new bike = opportunity to strengthen her bicycle game. Prachi knew that she would return to triathlons stronger. To top it off, her partner Anand had hurt his thumb and was off serious riding for a short while. This meant he could tail her in a car or ride with her at her pace, as he recovered. She felt confident and safe to put some serious mileage in, and with encouragement from Anand never too far away, she was able to move her game up quite a few levels.
Enter the curveball: She got double teamed by the two biggest hustlers in the componentry upgrade game – Anand and Nikhil. They convinced her that she needed DI2 in her life. Anand was a recent convert and Nikhil had come across a new upgrade kit that had become available.
This project was exciting for us because we were maxing out what is an early rider level bike into an electronic shifting bike. Frames that support DI2 come with wire routing specific to electronic shifting. In this bike, the routes needed to be created for the wires. Having worked on many DI2 compatible frames, we knew what boundaries we could push. This determined where on the frame we could drill to find optimal pathways for the wires.
Falling back on experiences with frames and with DI2, Nikhil felt this would be a feasible project. With the promise of precise, lightning fast shifts, Prachi was ready to, ha, shift to DI2. In addition, we also upgraded her wheels (you know how it is. You change one thing, you feel compelled to change the other big pieces to bring optimisation) to hand-built Powertap wheels.
Here’s what the bike looks like when it was ready to roll.
Prachi’s reactions when she saw her new ride tell the rest of the story
Here’s her brave and shaky test ride.
In a largely shitty year, when we are all struggling with our own demons, and somehow managing to keep our heads largely above water, stories like Prachi’s are heartening. It takes courage to grab the opportunities that look scary, and go after them. That is exactly what Prachi has done. It’s been a real joy to have contributed to this part of her journey.
Photos courtesy: Prachi, Ajay Aren & Rahul Bisht