This is what my bike looked like when my friend Duncan Andrew and I first put it together back in August of 2009. It was a very cool experience, and I learned a lot from Duncan. At the time, I had a very good 2000 Cannondale R600 that I bought used on eBay. It was admittedly one size too big for me, and after riding it for about a year and a half, I decided to upgrade to carbon, but more importantly, to switch to a frame that is the proper size. I bought a Chinese-made frameset on eBay, along with the stem, handlebar and seat post for a fraction of what a full carbon usually cost those days. Duncan and I then disassembled the Cannondale, and installed as much of the components onto the new bike. The only thing that we had to buy were the headset bearings (different type), the front derailleur (wrong clamp size) and the seat post clamp (also, different size). I subsequently sold the Cannondale frame on Craigslist to another man eager to build his very own bike.
And this new bike took me everywhere, in the 3 years I've had it since, I logged almost 8000km, which included MEC's Tour de Greenbelt, TBN's TNTO, Heart and Stroke's Ride for Heart 3 times, United Way Oshawa's Ride for United Way, PWA's Friends for Life Bike Rally (already training for a repeat this year), Admittedly, if I was more diligent biking to work everyday, I would have had higher mileage on it too.
Aside from the tire and tube replacements, wear and tear is unavoidable along the way. As such, my bike has gone through a number of changes and upgrades since that first day. Looking at it now, it's not immediately clear that it's even the same bike. This is what my bike looks like as of today (July 10, 2012). It does look like a different bike altogether.
Almost immediately after we built the bike, I replaced the right-side Shimano 105 brake/shifter, when, one day, it just decided to stop working all of a sudden. (I upgraded to an Ultegra. Mountain Eqiuipment Co-op had some old-stock 9-speed shifters left and gave me an excellent deal.) Then it was the crankset in 2010 when I upgraded to an Ultegra after getting a great deal on eBay. Then last year (2011) I upgraded the handlebar to a FSA Omega Compact; it has a better geometry that reduces the stress on my hands during 100km+ rides. This year I got myself a new and lighter saddle from Bike Nashbar after the original Cannondale saddle finally wore out. I also managed to get a couple of carbon fibre water bottle cages on eBay along the way, as well as a bright-as-hell rear light for commuting in the twilight hours. Even the rear derailleur hanger was replaced, when someone knocked over my bike at the Bike Rally, bending it out of shape. But the most substantial upgrade this year are the wheels. At Ride for Heart, I hit a rock while descending at 60km/h on the Don Valley Parkway, and that more or less destroyed my rear wheel. Luckily I was able to stay vertical and avoid crashing into the barrier. I took this as an opportunity for some new gears, and I bought an entirely new carbon fibre wheelset on eBay. The carbon wheels need different brake pads, so while changing out the brake pads, I also replaced the rear brake calipers with new ones. The old front wheel, which is still in very good shape, will hopefully be sold on Craigslist soon.
Not a lot of parts remain from the original R600, just the rear derailleur, the (nearly bombproof) Shimano 105 bottom bracket, the SRAM cassette, the front brake calipers, the left-side 105 brake/shifter and some of the cable and housing. That the cassette is still in good shape was a bit of a surprise, consider how hard I rode last year. I'm hoping these parts won't fail me anytime soon...