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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: First Touring Bike
« on: January 23, 2014, 08:06:50 pm »
Can't really help much since you are asking about bike size.  And only you know what size bike fits you.  Probably from riding it and changing the saddle, stem, bars to fit.  So I would suggest finding the bikes at a shop and riding them and trying to fit them to you.

Concerning bike fit, you really don't have to fit it very well to ride it.  I rode a 21" Trek 520.  Too small by a couple inches.  Still made it fit with a long post and long stem.  Rode it many years quite happily.  Now have a 60cm Redline.  Little too big.  Still made it fit and ride it quite well.  Humans can adapt to a wide variety of bike sizes and make them all work fine.  It helps to get the correct size.  But an incorrect size does not prevent you from riding it for years and years.  Both my poorly fitting touring bikes rode fine with panniers and handlebar bag.  So fit does not affect how the loaded bike rides.

Gear Talk / Re: Which triple crankset will fit my bike?
« on: January 19, 2014, 01:48:37 pm »
I will go the new chainring route and keep it simple. I didn't know I could get a 24 in 74 BCD. Thinking 50-36-24, that gives me a good spread of choices with my 34-12 cassette. It is just like my compact road cranks with the 24 for loaded hills, I like it.

I started looking for chainrings online and there aren't many places that have much selection, any suggestions.

Peter White Cycles sells TA chainrings.  High quality.  Expensive.  Here is what he says.  38 is the smallest you can use with the Ultegra 6503 crankset in the outer and middle positions.  Not 36.  Your crank has 130mm bolt circle diameter for the middle and outer positions.  74mm bolt circle diameter for the inner position.  Cheapest inner chainring you can find is perfect for the inner position.

"My most popular chainrings are 48 - 38 - 26 and 24 tooth replacements for Shimano's 9 speed Ultegra and 105 triple cranks. This makes for a much better range of gears if you're touring. Most of Shimano's 9 speed cassettes start with a 12 tooth cog, and some start with 11, which is wasted when your largest chainring is 52 teeth and you're carrying a heavy load. Reducing the size of all the chainrings lets you actually use all nine cogs in back. Why have nine speeds if you can't use them all? 48,38,24 shifts very smoothly with the Ultegra 9 speed front derailleur and STI shifters. When you change the size of the outer chainring, you'll need to change the position of the front derailleur. With every tooth reduction, the derailleur needs to be lowered by 2mm."

"For chainrings compatible with Shimano road triple cranksets, like Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra, scroll down to the TA Alize 130mm rings for the middle and outer positions. Then scroll to the TA Zelito 74mm rings for the inner (triple) position."

"If you are using STI, you'll need to use a Shimano derailleur specifically designed for STI. The Ultegra Triple FD and the IRD Alpine clone of the Ultegra are designed for a 10 tooth difference between the outer and middle chainring. They're more flexible about the difference between the middle and inner ring. The Dura Ace 9 speed Triple FD is designed for a 14 tooth difference between the outer and middle ring. I get frequent requests for 38 tooth rings to replace the middle 42 tooth ring on the Ultegra Triple crank. But the shifting will be very poor if you do that. If you want a 38 in the middle, either change the outer to a 48, or change the FD to a Dura Ace Triple."

Do a search on TA chainrings and you will find Europe sellers.  They will be cheaper than Peter White Cycles.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire availability
« on: January 17, 2014, 11:36:38 pm »
A better bet would be the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.  Q Tubes.  With some of Schwalbe’s Doc Blue put in the tubes will have you almost flawless.

BikeTiresDirect sells the Schwalbe Marathon Plus for $52 each.  MSRP of $59.  Don't know what Q tubes are, but bet they are expensive.  Some folks, including me, are cheap when it comes to buying bike parts.  Spending nearly $60 for a bicycle tire isn't something I will ever do.  Those $20 WalMart 700C tires look pretty good.

Gear Talk / Re: Which triple crankset will fit my bike?
« on: January 16, 2014, 04:09:45 pm »
I'd suggest keeping it simple and just changing chainrings on the crankset you own right now.  You can put 48 or 46 outer ring, 38 or 39 middle ring, and 24 tooth inner ring on the current crankset.  That will provide great gearing.  And be easier than changing cranks and bottom bracket.  Use same front derailleur.  Just lower it a few millimeters.  Cost wise it will be about the same price as buying a new mountain crank and bottom bracket.  Chainrings are kind of expensive when bought individually.  High end ones like TA or Stronglight with pins and ramps on the outer and middle rings to help shifting will be best.  But costly.  Cheapest inner ring you can find.  Keep it simple, change chainrings on the crankset you own right now.  46-38-24 crankset will give about the same gearing as the mountain crankset.  Perfect for riding with the 12-34 cassette you have now.  Not quite as low gear but still low enough.  24x34 is a low low gear.  The difference between 22x34 and 24x34 is not enough to worry about.

General Discussion / Re: how to keep my feet warm!
« on: January 16, 2014, 03:47:08 pm »
At 50 degrees I wear summer shoes and cleats and socks.  Colder I will add some things.  Wool socks.  Neoprene booties.  Lake brand winter boot/shoes.  Have not tried chemical warmers yet.  When its lower than freezing, about an hour or so is all I can stand.  No matter how many layers of clothes you are wearing, you get cold.  Make the ride short and get inside.

Gear Talk / Re: 700 C wheels for Surly Cross Check
« on: January 02, 2014, 07:09:28 pm »
Having a hard time understanding this question.  Stock wheels?  What is that?  I build my own wheels.  So stock wheels to me means picking a set of hubs.  Campagnolo Record or Shimano Dura Ace for most recent wheels.  Then choosing some rims.  DT rims recently.  Then choosing some spokes.  DT or Sapim are the choices for me.  But maybe Wheelsmith is still around.  14/15 double butted or 14 straight are the choices.  Then take these parts you can buy many places and build them into a set of wheels.  I prefer 3 cross on the spokes.  If you do not know how to build wheels and choose not to learn, then several online retailers offer the service for about $25.  Or your local bike shop will have the service available for about the same money.  Choosing wheels built by a company in a factory is almost always a poor choice for bicycle wheels.  Always build your own wheels from hubs, rims, spokes you choose.  What you choose isn't too important really.  Hubs, rims, spokes sold retail are almost always good enough.  You'd have to look pretty diligently to find poor quality hubs, rims, spokes.  If they are sold retail, they are good enough.

Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 25, 2013, 02:13:44 pm »
I am intrigued by the new 2x stuff, but I personally need lower gears that a 26/38 would provide.

The Shimano double mountain cranksets use 104mm bcd for the outer and 64mm bcd for the inner.  You can fit any size chainring from 32 to 44 on the outside position.  AND you can fit down to a 22 tooth chainring on the inner position.  Nashbar sells spare 22 tooth 64mm bcd chainrings for about $15.  Its very easy to get a double mountain crankset with 38-22 chainrings.  If you have a 22 tooth ring in front, then a 32 or 34 cog in back should give you a low enough gear.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 08, 2013, 03:03:22 pm »
...I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years.  Buy a road bike now.  Ride it for a half dozen years.  Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years.  Learn about bicycling.  Then ride across the country....

Thanks for writing this as you saved me a fair bit of typing.  My first reaction on reading the OP was incredulity.  These guys don't own bikes, don't know what type to buy, don't currently ride and don't say what, if any, charity they are trying to assist.   Amazing.

Well it's a good thing that these two did not ask for your advice. Dave and Loretta, with no cycling experience, bought bikes and gear and have been traveling for several years now.

Dave ->
Loretta ->

I would have given them the same advice.  Get a bike and ride for a half dozen years.  The US and the rest of the world will still be there 6 years from now.  When you know what you are doing, then ride across the world.  It will be easier and more fun because you won't have as many problems.  You will know what you are doing.  Your advice reminds me of something.  People win the lottery about everyday.  You apparently would recommend the lottery as a retirement method and a way to accumulate wealth for a living.  Of course people who know how the world works, would not recommend the lottery as a financial strategy.  Lottery and waking up tomorrow and riding across the US with no experience.  Pretty similar to me.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 03:45:32 pm »
Not sure why that is amazing.  I met lots of folks who were on long tours that they started as non cyclists especially on the Trans America.  My two companions on the TA had almost no miles under their belt at the start and one was never a cyclist previous to the TA.  They both did great.  Being young and in generally good shape helps but even being older of somewhat sedentary doesn't mean someone can't start a coast to coast trip if they either train a bit of take it easy for the first 10 days to 2 weeks.
Read my second posting.  As to my first one, yes, what you describe can be done and has been done but that still doesn't make it a good idea.   

One difference is in your example, your non-cycling companions had you as a guide to both bike choice and riding.  Based strictly on the OP, these guys have absolutely no knowledge of bikes and anything related.  I'm sure they can and will learn but, at first blush, it really did sound like a poorly thought out idea.

I'll agree with DaveB.  This action of waking up one morning and deciding to ride across the US has been done many times and will be done many more times.  Probably most do OK.  But I still don't think its a good idea.  I don't climb mountains.  If I decided to climb Everest tomorrow I would need to be put away in a locked cell.  Maybe not quite the same, but its better to have experience at something before jumping into the deep end.  I'm pretty sure the US will be here for a few more years.  You can ride across the US 5-10-15 years from now.  What is wrong with riding your bike for five years and learning about bicycling before riding across the US?  Get some experience.  Whether you ride next summer or ten summers from now, it will still be memorable.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 06, 2013, 03:31:53 pm »
If we were to get used bikes, how old is too old. I have seen a ton of bikes from the 80s and early 90s on ebay and craigslist for $200-400. At what point would we have to upgrade too many parts/components that it would no longer be worth it. I guess I'm asking would an older bike's components work well or would we basically have to build a new bike?

I looked more into hybrids(thanks zzzz for the link) and they seem like they could work. If we were to go that route would the wheels work? I noticed that they have 32 spokes whereas most touring bikes have 36+ spokes. I don't want to be constantly changing spokes along the ride. Also would the upright seating position make it that much more difficult because of the wind? Are there any other pros/cons about hybrids?

It looks like I would have to change the gearing of a cyclocross bike whereas a hybrid should be ok where it is at. How much would it cost to make that change?

Early 90s bike would be OK.  It will have a 7 speed cassette.  These are still common.  I rode around Europe on a 1991 Trek 520.  And rode it many years later.  Bikes don't wear out.  The parts more or less last forever.  But all of the consumables, chains, cassette, cables, handlebar tape need replacing.  Adds up.  Then to get the bike to fit with new bars, new stem, saddle, tires, tubes.  Adds up.  Labor cost to do the servicing and parts change.  Adds up.  Buying a used bike may or may not save you money.  Unless you get really lucky (perfect fit, perfect maintenance) it will not save you very much.  Working under the assumption that a used bike will be 50% of new price.  Then add 25% of new price for new parts to make it fit and get it in working order.  So you are looking at a $1200 new bike or $900 used bike for ones that are pretty similar in the end.  Unless you are really lucky, used won't save you much money.  Used allows you to get an old bike that you always wanted and now you can.

I'm not a fan of hybrid or mountain bikes because of the seating position.  Upright.  And straight bars with no other hand positions.  Uncomfortable over long distances.  Drop handlebars have been used on road bikes for about 100 years now.  There is a good reason for that.

Changing gearing on a cyclocross bike?  Maybe long cage rear derailleur to handle the bigger cassette.  $50-80.  Bigger cassette.  11-34 or 11-32 teeth.  $30.  New chain.  $20.  Tools to break the chain and take the cassette off.  $30.

General Discussion / Re: Need advice for my trip this summer
« on: December 05, 2013, 02:28:32 pm »
I plan a cross-country bike trip with a couple friends. We are planning on going from Savanna to San Francisco this summer. This trip is going to be a charity ride.

We do not have bikes. Because this is a fundraiser and we are college students we do not have a lot of money to spend on bikes. We are trying to not spend over $800 on a bike but preferably less. Do you have any tips for getting a good bike in our price range? What would you recommend for a cheap touring bike, or would you recommend that we try a different type of bike. Could we get a hybrid or mountain bike to work well for this trip? We also heard that you could take a normal road bike if you pulled a trailer. Is that true? We could probably get a nice used road bike for cheap.

If a couple of the guys were to get mountain bikes while the others had touring or road bikes would the mountain bikes be able to keep up? Would it take a lot more work to stay with them or with smooth tires could they ride with the road bikes just fine?

Where did this idea of a cross country bike ride come from?  Charity ride?  Do you ride a bike now?  Have you ever ridden a bike over long distances?  A lot of your questions about bikes implies you know nothing about bicycling.  I'm not a fan of giving bike buying advice to someone who knows nothing about bikes.  I'd suggest you postpone your cross country ride for a few years.  Buy a road bike now.  Ride it for a half dozen years.  Ride 5,000-10,000 miles a year for the next half dozen years.  Learn about bicycling.  Then ride across the country.

I rode an entire summer immediately following college graduation.  But I had been riding for 10 years and knew what bicycling involved.  Touring for a summer wasn't much of a stretch for me.

Gear Talk / Re: Does a smaller outer chainring mean new front deralliuer?
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:56:41 pm »
Lower the front derailleur so it just barely clears the outer chainring.  Newer chainrings for the outer and middle position will have ramps and pins designed to help move the chain between the rings.  These help and shift better than smooth plain rings.  Front derailleurs are generally curved so they follow the curvature of the outer chainring.  Your front derailleur has an outer cage that more or less follows the curve of the old 52 ring.  It will have a consistent couple millimeter gap between the cage on the front derailleur and the outer ring from the front to the back.  Same 2mm gap between front derailleur cage and ring all the way.  Now it will have a bigger gap at the tail end of the front derailleur.  I've not found this to matter much.  I have a Shimano Tiagra triple front derailleur on the touring bike.  It was designed to shift a 52-39-30 triple crankset.  I use it on a triple crank with 44-33-20 rings.  The bottom tail end of the front derailleur is about 1 inch from the chainring.  The top front of the derailleur is 1mm from the ring.  Shifts fine with STI levers.  If using bar end shifters on the front derailleur, then you have even more control over shifting.  Bar end shifters allow you to force the chain over at anytime.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear rack for Nashbar panniers?
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:43:13 pm »
I have the Nashbar ATB panniers.  One big bag with a pull string top closure and a flap/pocket over the top.  One side pocket on the outside.  Probably similar to the waterproof Nashbar panniers in design.  Just different material used to construct them.  The attachment mechanism is two hooks on top and a bungee cord and hook at the bottom.  Also probably the same as yours.  I use a Blackburn Expedition rear rack.  And currently use a Nashbar front lowrider rack.  Have used a Blackburn lowrider rack in the past.

General Discussion / Re: Road bike for touring??
« on: December 03, 2013, 10:30:50 pm »
There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc.  In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little.  I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.

Yes.  But it also makes sense to buy a dedicated loaded touring bike if that is your goal.  Why not get a bike designed for your purpose and that is more or less guaranteed to perform that function correctly.  Spending money.  Buying a new bike.  These are not bad, evil actions.  They are just actions.  Good, bad, indifferent.

If your goal is to tour loaded, sleep in a tent and sleeping bag, cook your own meals, live off the land.  Then it makes sense to start with a bike designed to carry panniers and climb mountains.  Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee, Co-Motion Americano, and a half dozen others are all loaded touring bikes.  Loaded touring on these bikes is almost guaranteed to be successful.  They were built specifically for loaded touring.  It makes lots of sense to buy one of these bikes if you want to do loaded touring.  You may or may not be able to make other bikes work.  But these are all pretty much guaranteed to work perfectly.  Nothing wrong with that.

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