The "new" and improved Nyala for 2021
After the initial Bianchi headset missteps things started coming together in late February and the old workhorse got some nice updates for 2021. The weather here has been pretty miserable to try to ride in, but I think it will be well prepared for riding this year.
First and foremost, the second-try Tange Levin headset fit, as expected, perfectly. It's not the prettiest headset around, but these things have a well-deserved reputation for being well-made and durable. The one shipped to me certainly impressed. Nice quality with a low price makes the Tange a winner, and I'd find myself buying another pretty quickly (more on that later). I picked up a shiny alloy brake cable hanger to match, which was much less nice. At least it's shiny and it does do what it needs to do.
As mentioned earlier, I also scored a Brooks B17 for the Nyala, and it's looking -- and feeling -- every bit as good as expected. I treated it thoroughly with mink oil paste and it's already breaking in. It's my foray into Brook-land, but I think I'm going to be in the group that loves their saddles.
I neglected to mention it in the Nyala intro, but a set of 26" Marathon Mondial tires were a late 2020 addition. I haven't really had a chance to ride these yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing if they live up to their reputation as a great (and nearly bulletproof) all-around tire, equally comfortable on the road and trail. They're not lightweights, but early indications are that they do, in fact, do make a really good all-arounder.
The other big functional upgrade was a used Deore rear derailleur from ebay. The original Alivio unit had been a pretty solid performer, but after 25 years it was getting weak, and it always struggled with the wide-range cassette I fitted last year.
Other than that, I mostly just had some cosmetic upgrades. I was going for a sort of vintage Land Rover vibe, so I ran new brown cable housing to complement the original dark green paint and Brooks saddle. I also wanted new grips, so I took some inexpensive wrapped grips and re-wrapped them with Newbaum's Cloth Bar Tape in brown, then treated them with Zinnser's clear shellac. They're ready for anything now.
And with that, I think it's ready to tackle anything I might throw at it this year. I hope to get it out on some single-track for the first time in a very long time. We'll see how 2021 cooperates, though.
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