10 October 2011

Autumn rose

The DA*55 is supposed to be a portrait lens; a direct APS-C replacement for the traditional 85/1.4 portrait lenses of yore.  It certainly has the suitable lovely bokeh.  What it doesn't have is any notion of mercy, producing extremely sharp images.  I suppose the Pentax engineers could have concluded that it's easy enough to blur it in post, and still rather harder to un-blur it in post, but the lens still feels a bit like it really wanted to grow up and be a macro lens, or even the first lens able to take direct images of sin.
In someone's (admittedly south-facing) yard on the eighth of October.  And yes, Toronto is the warm south, for Canadian values of the warm south, but still.  I am finding myself haunted by considerations of the transition rates of buffered systems when they finally do change state.

Ride 48km and what do you get?

Proof that bicycle components are lamentably fragile, that's what.

 Brand new SRAM Rival crankset; failed at kilometer 48 of its first ride.  Given that the Apex crankset has 1380 km on it, I'm going to suppose that this particular chain ring made it out of QC and should not have.
I don't think it's spalling, as such, since it looks like some kind of ductile failure making the teeth smaller, but it's certainly not good.

And I was nearly stopped, too, with one foot down and turning to get out of going down an unhelpful bit of bike path in a park.  Not a high stress situation.

09 October 2011

Swapping components

Partially because I want to be able to run 12-36 cassettes, and if I'm going to do that—which implies a "mountain", in this case X9, rear derailleur—I thought I might as well move the rest of the drive train up the food chain one notch to SRAM's Rival, instead of Apex, components.  Probably not a huge improvement in quality but that little bit tougher can be a good thing.

SRAM Apex bottom bracket; it has not quite 1400 km on it.  I was somewhat trepidatious about pulling it, but that all went fine.
I believe that's some sort of small bug, wedged into the unused hole for attaching the bottom-of-the-bottom-bracket-shell cable guide.  Also, sand and other guck.  It's pretty much harmless, because the bottom bracket is sealed and the titanium frame is not at much risk of corrosion.  Having what amounts to a drain hole is probably a good thing, if only so moving the seat post isn't like trying to compress the air in the frame.
The bottom bracket shell, post a good swabbing and prior to having the Rival bottom bracket installed.
Apex crankset; I was initially appalled by the variable tooth heights until I looked at the new one and realized that SRAM does that on purpose.  (Various $BRAND-glide technologies.)  The grease is Connex spray-on chain grease; it's film-forming, and insanely stubborn. (as in, it does not come off when you wash the chain in hot water and hand cleaner.  Though fortunately the road grit did.)