Well, the Denali is finally ‘up to snuff’… in terms of upgraded features & road worthiness.  It’s amazing what difference a few key changes can make.

A detailed list & some pics:

– I switched out the RevoShifts to the lighter, smaller, more usable Shimano A050 ‘Thumb Shifters’:

Shimano A050 "Thumb" shifters fall readily to hand for quick shifts, and allow more handlebar space than the stock 'RevoShift's did. Computer mounts compactly on top of stem.

– Upgraded to black anodized drop bars – away from the two piece bars that were stock.

– Installed my older, higher quality Shimano 600 brake levers.

Compact Shimano A050 Shifters are easier to operate & free up space on the handlebars. The bar & shifter change saved about a pound.

– Tires: I upgraded to the super high performance – 130 PSI, 130 Thread Per Inch  CST “Correre” racing slick tires.

Absolutely the single best performance upgrade ! 

Available in the very thin 23c width – and I was shocked to find the ride significantly smoother, transmitting less ‘road buzz’ over rough pavement, than the two sizes larger 28c tires did:

The CST Correre 700x23c rolls down the road with a minimum of resistance.

These 23c wide “CST Correre” tires fit perfectly on the Denali’s stock ‘Vitesse Lite’ 23mm wide rims.  In fact, it’s a better situation copared to the larger, wider 28c tires – other riders had theorized to me that the straight side walls of the same width would make for a better tire / rim unity & more cornering stability.

After almost 120 miles of aggressive road riding, I’m inclined to agree !

The bike now performs better than one could ever have imagined compared to stock: the lower rolling resistance of these amazing tires now makes zipping up to & over 20 mph a breeze – way more pedaling efficiency – I used to feel motion & effort wasted, but no longer !

[ I suppose next step is to get the pedal & shoe clip combo ! ]

Weight is still in the 27 # range – 3# less than stock – and in every respect it performs superior to it’s stock condition.

The new, lighter Denali is ready for the road with improved ergonomics & performance..

So, to summarize, in terms of road feel, responsiveness to rider inputs & smooth, easy rolling it’s the equal of the LBS $ 800 bikes.  The ergonomics – how naturally everything falls to hand – is now perfect for me.

The Denali now needs two water bottles, as rides average 20+ miles each time.

In fact, I noticed an interesting thing: with the shifters up against the stem, in the center of the straight bar, if you ride with your hands there, you’re already AT the shifter, but not near the brakes.  But if you ride with one hand on one of the brake hoods, and the other on the bar, you’re near to both shifters & brakes simultaneously, so you can ‘have your cake & eat it, too’ !

Whereas with the ‘Brifters’ layout (integrated shift & brake levers) so common today, you’re only near either of those controls when your hands are actually ON the brake hoods, and if you’re changing your grip to the straight bar (presumably to ‘rest & enjoy a change of grip’), then with the ‘Brifter’ layout, now you’re nowhere near to  the brakes or the shifters !

Our Benotto has the updated ‘Brifter’ layout, and although I enjoy that set-up, I now see it’s downside, and the upside of the way the Denali with it’s ‘thumb’ shifter layout allows more variety of grip (helpful if you get numb hands when being ‘mono-position’ too long !) variations.

Funny, I didn’t even think of this factor of the layout of controls until living with the new Shimano A050 Thumb Shifters for a few rides — now I appreciate & grasp the benefit of having controls spread across both primary hand positions.

Hope this is of help & interest to some of you Denali fans or future owners !

Please ask any questions or give feedback in the comments below…

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