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I sold my Trek 5200 and bought a 10-speed SRAM XX drivetrain from Bent Up Cycles in LA. I got it with the 11-36 rear casette, which together with my compact 50-34 front chainrings lets me tackle all the hills I used to do on my Trek. The rear derailleur shifting is very quick and precise. If you can afford it, it makes for a nice upgrade.

I am curious about your new SRAM drivetrain. What parts are included? How much do they cost?

And how does the new SRAM equipment compare with ordinary Shimano stuff? I have heard good things about SRAM 1:1 actuation ratio shifters and derailleurs, but have not tried them myself.

I think Lightning was putting Campagnolo components on the P-38 some years ago, maybe in an attempt to give the bike a more "roadie" personality. My impression was that the Campy parts were of high quality, but did not give as much bang for the buck as Shimano parts.

My first Lightning bike had Sun Tour components. They did not shift as crisply as Shimano, but lasted a very long time. I think the original Sun Tour went belly-up around 1995 or so. Another outfit in Taiwan bought the rights to the name, and is producing inexpensive bike parts with the same label.

Another option to consider now is a company named Microshift: does anyone have experience with their derailleurs etc.?

Safe riding,

More details at

I had an email exchange with Dana Lieberman, who agreed to substitute the 11-36 cassette he had on hand for the 11-32 that comes standard with this package.

I still use my Shimano front derailleur. It doesn't care whether I have a 10-speed or a 9-speed chain, since the front shifter is not indexed - it works by friction. Its shifting is slightly compromised by the Rotor Q-rings: I have to back off on the power considerably to shift up to the larger ring. Down shifts to the small chainring are flawless, however.

The rear derailleur and cassette combination are fantastic. Quick, precise shifts up or down over the whole range. Easy to adjust. BUT, before installing, READ THE DIRECTIONS OR YOU WILL BEND YOUR CASSETTE!

Did you have to get a SRAM shifter to make this work?

Yes, the SRAM shifters are 10-speed. The Shimano shifters were 9-speed.

Weighed my medium P-38 with the SRAM 2x10 drivetrain and other upgrades (e.g. KCNC VB-1 brake levers). Weight came in at 21.7 lbs! I know this means nothing to the flatlanders, but I'm hoping to get back to rides that include hills that the Amgen Tour of California uses.

Hello Pita,

Please give us a complete list of all the components you have on your bike. And what size frame do you have? How old is it? I generally do not get preoccupied with bike weight, being a Chicago flatlander.

But your Lightning bike really is unusually feather-light. So tell us more.

Safe riding,

Frame: 2009 Lightning P-38, size medium
Fork: Lightning 20 inch
Crank Boom: Large, but didn't need the length, sawed off 1.5 inches
Seat: Medium, secured by 140lb zip-ties, double wound, no cord
Pad: Lightning foam over Therm-a-rest Z-seat, center cut out
Steering: Lightning medium riser, secured by Power-on 2-bolt clamp
Headset: Chris King (aluminum)
Brakes: Ciamillo Zero Gravity
Brake Levers: KCNC VB-1 (46 grams)
Brake and Shifter Cables: Jagwire
Handlebar: Lightning standard
Shifters: SRAM TT-500 aluminum (carbon too delicate here IMHO)
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Triple
Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX Long Cage (in case I switch to a triple)
Rear Cassette: SRAM XX 11-36 (big hills around here)
Cranks: Lightning Carbon 165 mm (5 mm shorter than my old DF cranks)
Chainrings: Rotor Q-Rings 34x50
Pedals: Speedplay Frog Ti from my DF bike
Front Wheel: Lightning custom - Dura Ace hub, Velocity Aerohead Rim, 14 Sapim spokes
Rear Wheel: Rolf Prima Elan 700c from my DF bike (24 spokes, 770 grams total)
Skewers: Far and Near Ti
Front Tire: Schwalbe Durano 406, Schwalbe SV6 inner tube
Rear Tire: Schwalbe Durano 700x25, Specialized Turbo inner tube
Chain: KNC 10-speed hollow-pin
Idlers: Terracycle Elite (with Ti cog on power idler)
Bottle Cages: Blackburn Swerve Ti (2)
Meter: Cateye Mity 8
Bar Tape: Ravx
Extra: 2-inch tubular webbing strap to reinforce sacral are of seat, zip-tied

I think that's everything that went into the 21.7 lb weight.

I also use the Lightning seat bag, with the outer strap cinched up with a safety pin (8 oz). Inside I carry a spare tube for each tire, a carbon/aluminum mini-pump with integrated CO2 head (no longer made by Soma), a CO2 cylinder, 2 plastic tire levers, Park glueless tire patches, Park glueless tire boots, a Lezyne CRV-12 multi-tool, a card with my id, medical and contact information (my "Road-Kill" card), and 4 extra zip-ties. Altogether it adds another 1.5 lbs, but it's worth it to get back on the road quickly, and it's so convenient to have all that extra room in the bag for long rides, and/or changeable weather.

Me? I weigh 142 lbs (down 10 lbs since buying the Lightning). I ride with DF'ers who ride 16 lb bikes up things like Mt. Hamilton and Sierra Road (see Amgen Tour of California 2011, Stage 4). I can beat all but one of the guys I usually ride with up the hills - well maybe all but two, given that my cardiologist tells me to lay off the gut-busting efforts. I can also beat all but one of them on the downhills and flats, but he's a different one. (The best DF climbers are not always the best DF descenders).

I have a sub 2 lb Terracycles/Windwrap XT fairing and mount which adds about 2 mph to my speed, but I don't inflict that on my DF buddies, and I didn't include it in the bike weight.

It wasn't cheap, but it was my first new bike in 17 years, and now it's my only bike. I don't know how many strong years I have left, so I fitted it out the way I wanted.

Hi again pita,

You clearly did your homework in picking out parts for your bike. I think other recumbent nuts like me would appreciate a picture or two. If you have access to a digital camera, take some and send them to me for inclusion in the gallery area of this site.


I sent pictures to your email addresses. Did you ever get them? Do you need images of a particular size? Would you like particular shots or angles?


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