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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on "fat-tired" touring bikes?
« on: December 07, 2015, 08:24:20 pm »
The ACA recommends for the Lewis and Clark Trail "that you equip yourself with a fat-tired touring bicycle."

The route description says this:  "there are 174 miles of unpaved rail-trails and 184.3 miles of gravel, 24.5 of which are unavoidable if you stay on the main route."  Not sure if this means a total of 358 unpaved and gravel roads or if the 174 unpaved is part of the 184 gravel.  Route is a total of 3,143 miles going west.  So either 11% or 6% is unpaved.  Not much really.  All the rest is on paved roads.  I'd advise taking a bike and tires ideal for the 89% or 94% of the route, not the small unpaved portions.  Road bikes and skinny 28mm or 25mm tires do OK on gravel roads.  Wide 32mm or 35mm touring tires do even better on gravel roads.

I have been on a short section of the Katy trail near Columbia, Missouri.  It is very fine gravel/dust.  Not the big chunky gravel on country gravel roads.  If dry, road bikes and tires are probably the best choice for the Katy trail.  Better than mountain bikes.  If wet, then I'd suggest finding the paved roads that more or less parallel the Katy trail.

Gear Talk / Re: Front and Rear Racks Recommendation
« on: December 04, 2015, 12:31:46 pm »
I have the Nashbar $19.99 front low rider rack on my touring bike right now.  Works good.  Blackburn EX-1 rear rack on the touring bike.  Its $35 on Amazon.  Think its less today than what I paid for it 23 years ago.  Have used these racks for hundreds or thousands of miles of loaded touring.

Gear Talk / Re: Front and Rear Racks Recommendation
« on: December 03, 2015, 08:03:02 pm »
I have toured with a Blackburn Expedition rear rack, their heavy duty model.  And a Blackburn front low rider pannier rack.  Or a Nashbar front low rider rack.  All made with solid aluminum rods, welded together.  All work just fine.  Might have $60 or $70 into both racks on the bike now.  Plus some welding by my brother and cutting by me on the rear rack.  Had to make it fit the new bike.  Advantage of an aluminum rod rack.  If you know someone who can weld aluminum, you can easily modify it.

Routes / Re: Transam: solo or group ride? Has anyone done both?
« on: December 03, 2015, 01:02:17 pm »
My response might not apply to your questions.  In the USA we have many week long state rides.  Trucks haul the baggage.  Ride about 400 miles or so in seven days.  Tent camp every night, eat at restaurants or community food places.  You have the freedom to be as sociable or unsociable as you want on these rides.  You can ride with your family or friends everyday.  Side by side.  And set up tents right beside each other.  And eat every meal together and talk every night sitting around the beer coolers.  Or you can ride by yourself each day, there are thousands of riders so you are not really by yourself, and eat by yourself, and set up your tent on the other side of the campground, and not drink and talk with the others each night.  Your choice.

In the next year and a half before your ride, I'd suggest you find a similar ride in the UK and ride it.  Maybe invite friends or family to join you.  Then decide how you are going to ride the event.  And you can change your plan too.  Be with and around everyone all the time.  Or be by yourself one day and then with everyone the next.  Or ride alone each day and then be the social butterfly at camp and supper every night.  Figure out whether you like being/riding with people or alone.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: December 01, 2015, 10:41:29 pm »
As to the one question on my existing road bike. Its a Cannondale CAAD8 and I've had it for about 10 years. It's aluminum with carbon fork. I rode it recently on the North Carolina Mountain to Coast ride and did NOT feel safe or comfortable.

I happen to own a CAAD7 and a CAAD9 bike.  Aluminum frames and carbon forks.  I consider them to be some of the best bikes ever built.  They have no flaws.  Did Cannondale somehow make a horrible CAAD8 bike in between the great CAAD7 and CAAD9 bikes?  I'd suggest you figure out why you do not feel safe or comfortable on a likely great CAAD8 bike before wasting money on a new bike.  You do not have bike problems, you have other problems.

General Discussion / Re: Cyclocross Bike for Southern Tier
« on: November 30, 2015, 10:56:38 pm »
I'll give an answer on your wheel question.  None of the ones you mentioned.  I prefer normal wheels built at home or the local shop using regular hubs such as the Shimano road or mountain bike hubs.  And regular spokes with brass nipples such as DT or Sapim or Wheelsmith.  And regular rims made by many companies.  More spokes the better.  36 is ideal but 32 is OK.  Any fewer spokes and you are taking chances with no benefits.  Are you racing to the top of the Alps with your 16 spoke lightweight front wheel?  Are you racing the World Championship time trial with your deep aerodynamic wheels and 12 spokes?  No, so why not use wheels with more spokes that are stronger and can be adjusted easily if an accident occurs.  The advantage of regular built wheels is the hubs are the best quality and easily serviceable on the road if needed.  Spokes are available from every bike shop or mail order every day of the week.  Rims can be replaced pretty easily if they fail.  The wheels you mentioned and all like them have too few spokes for weight or rough riding, and have difficult to find parts.  They may be lighter, but so what.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 28, 2015, 06:01:43 pm »
(meaning you won't be told that square taper bottom brackets are no longer made or that they are, but just basic, inexpensive ones).  I built up Surly Trolls for my wife and me.

I'll admit I was surprised Sugino still makes square taper cranks.  I have not heard of Sugino since the mid 1980s.  Did not even know they still existed.  As for the ones Surly uses on its complete bikes.  They are some Chinese company I have never heard of.  Shimano abandoned square tapers on its upper models in the late 1990s or so.  They may still make square taper cranks for the cheapest bikes they equip.  But not on the upper levels.  I have several Dura Ace square taper cranks.  And Campagnolo square taper cranks.  All over 15 years old.  Not sure I would recommend someone build up a bike using parts 15 or more years old.  Just like I would not recommend someone build up a bike using 7 or 8 speed parts.  The biking world has moved on.

Not sure how square taper bottom brackets can use larger bearings than Shimano Hollowtech.  Square taper bottom brackets go inside the bottom bracket shell on the frame.  Its a tube about 1.375" diameter.  Hollowtech shells are about 1.875" diameter.  About half inch larger because the Hollowtech shells that hold the bottom bracket bearings are outside the frame's bottom bracket tube, which is about 1.375" diameter.  With the larger Hollowtech shell you end up with more and bigger bearings.  But anyway, bottom brackets are fairly durable and rarely give any problems.  The problem with square taper sealed bottom brackets is there are not many or any higher end cranks built for them anymore.  The Sugino mentioned above are probably nice.  I have good memories of Sugino from about 30 years ago.

Jan Heine, the link you provided, runs a magazine and a bicycle parts company.  A company that sells the square taper bottom brackets you are fond of.  He might have a vested interest.  Kind of like when a bike magazine recommends a bike and then you see advertisements in the magazine from that same bike brand.  Makes you wonder if the magazine selling advertisements to the bike company can be trusted to do an objective review of the bike.  They are paid by the bike company.

You say you are a Surly owner.  Do you know anything about Surly?  Surly is a brand name created by QBP.  QBP is the largest bike parts distributor in the US.  QBP is based in Minneapolis.  QBP supplies all the stuff to your local bike shop.  QBP saw an opportunity in the biking world.  People were fond of old biking parts for some reason.  Not sure why because old bike parts never worked as nicely as newer parts.  But QBP wanted to capitalize on this fondness people had for the old days.  So they created the Surly brand.  All Surly stuff is made in China.  QBP has many contacts in China because they import all the stuff they distribute from China.  QBP knows China very well.  QBP had Surly bike frames made in China from cheap Chinese steel.  China is a huge steel producer.  Hopefully QBP monitors closely the Chinese factories making the Surly frames.  QBP can sell its Surly frames pretty cheaply in the US because it makes them very cheaply in China and still make a good profit.  Good business plan.  QBP already distributes to every bike shop in the US so they have the distribution network already established.  Sell Surly frames and parts to the same shops they already serve.  QBP saw the niche for old style nostalgic bike parts and they filled it with the Surly brand creation.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:48:15 pm »
Do those bars serve a special purpose or are they just another set of bars?  I guess what I am asking is are they built specifically for a certain riding style?

They are handlebars for a bike.  Road style bike.  The purpose today is they are for the older, slower long distance rider.  Randonneur is a long distance riding style.  If you look at the historical (40s 50s) pictures of European bicycle racers, you will often see flared handlebars on their bikes.  And more upright riding positions with stems showing.  The tiny bike with the seat as high as possible and the bars as low as possible is a newer look.  In olden times the racers raced 100+ miles everyday for 8 months on less than smooth roads.  Sometimes dirt or gravel roads.  So having a comfortable bike was more important than a super aerodynamic bike.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 26, 2015, 04:49:14 pm »
Regarding the flared drop handlebars.  Rivendell sells the Nitto bars mentioned.  Velo-Orange also has a few flared handlebars.  A Google search for "Randonneur" handlebars may also turn up flared bars.

Routes / Re: Can I ride from Cortez CO to Pueblo CO in early April?
« on: November 24, 2015, 04:48:54 pm »
Are your dates set in stone?  April can be a cool to cold and rainy month in the Midwest.  You will be in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri during those months.  Southern parts of those states.  Temps can and usually are in the 40s and 50s in April.  Maybe warmer.  But 40s and 50s are common.  And RAIN.  Rain and 50 degrees.  Riding a bike would not be very enjoyable.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 22, 2015, 12:48:12 pm »
"Any normal mountain or road crankets and bottom brackets will work in the frame."

When I say normal I imply Shimano cranks and bottom brackets.  The dominant name in bike parts.  All Shimano bottom brackets and cranks use the external cups that thread into the bottom bracket threads.  The cups hold the bearings and the cranks go through the bearings.  Two piece crank with the non drive side tightening everything together.

No press fit cranks or bottom brackets will work with the threaded Surly frame.  Press fit requires the frame to have a space molded into the frame so you can press the bearings directly into the frame, no separate cups involved.  Generally only higher end road/race bikes use this system.  Not Surly.

As for square taper bottom brackets, those have not been made in almost 15 years.  I'm guessing Shimano still makes some for the cheapest parts they sell.  But they are almost rare now days.  If building a bike new, you won't even come across these cranks and bottom brackets.  You would have to search in the attic, inside the trunk, under the newspapers to even find a square taper bottom bracket and crankset.  Its about like talking about freewheels, 5,6, or 7 speed, if someone asked about building a rear wheel and what gearing to use on their bike.  Phil Wood still makes and sells hubs for freewheels.  Not sure who makes the freewheels.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 21, 2015, 05:09:11 pm »
The bottom bracket is similar to the headset.  Except you thread in the bottom bracket cups instead of pressing the cups in the headtube.  Bearings just slip into the cups once installed.  Your Surly frame will have standard British/ISO threading on the bottom bracket.  The threading is different on both sides.  Here is what Park Tool says about the threading on your Surly frame.
"Most modern bikes use an ISO thread standard for the bottom bracket. The left side thread is a right-hand direction thread, which tightens clockwise and removes counter-clockwise. This standard is also called English or BSC. The right side (drive side) thread is a left-hand thread, which tightens counter-clockwise and remove clockwise."

Tighten the cups by turning towards the rear wheel.  Loosen by turning towards the front wheel.

Any normal mountain or road crankets and bottom brackets will work in the frame.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 21, 2015, 12:18:08 am »
Looking at the Surly website, it appears your LHT frame takes normal 1 1/8" headsets.  It has a top and bottom cup that is pressed into the headtube.  These cups hold the bearings.  Fork goes up the center of the bearings.  Surly puts a Cane Creek 40 headset on the bikes they sell complete.  You can buy that and be pretty sure it will work.  Or another normal headset.  You can take the cups and frame to a bike shop and they can press the cups into the frame in about 1 minute.  Or you can buy your own headset press and press the cups in.  Or do it cheap and buy a long bolt or threaded rod.  12 inches or so.  Then use this bolt and washers and nuts to press the cups in yourself.  There isn't anything complicated about it.  I have a 2 foot threaded rod about 1 inch diameter.  Has a couple nuts on either end and four big washers about 2 inch diameter.  Works fine on the half dozen or so headset cups I have pressed in over the years.  Normally once you press in the cups, you never take the cups out again.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 18, 2015, 01:26:57 pm »
You are "lucky", in that both the 54 and 56cm frames can fit you without too extreme of measures.  On the 56 you will look right by everyone who sees you.  If a frame fits you, you will look right on it.  On the 54 you may have to use a longer stem than really ideal.  Maybe a bit more seatpost sticking up.  Maybe the saddle pushed way back further than on the 56 frame.  Maybe extra spacers to get the bars high enough because the 54 frame will have a shorter headtube and the bars will therefore be lower.  If you add all these somewhat easy and normal modifications together, people looking at you on the bike may say "the bike is a little too small".  Not extremely too small, but still too small.  Doing one of these modifications to get the frame to fit, that is OK.  But you may have to do all of them to get the slightly too small frame to fit.

General Discussion / Re: Surly LHT/Disc Trucker
« on: November 17, 2015, 09:05:38 pm »
Yeah, I have had people say I look big on the 54CM.  I was fitted for it and he said it fit nicely, I bought it used so it was what I had to work with.  I have put about 2000 miles on it and it is very comfortable, including a century or two and one back to back.  However I am a normal looking 5'10".  I stood over my cannonade and there is about an inch maybe before it is crammed into my crotch, maybe 1 1/2".

Your current bike was purchased used, so the fact it is not the right frame size is not surprising.  I used to have a 21 inch Trek 520 bike.  It fit me after I put a 12cm Nitto Technomic stem on it, raised to its maximum.  And modified the aluminum rails on my Ideale saddle to slide it backwards an extra inch.  I toured on the bike many thousands of miles.  It fit perfectly after my modifications.  But it was still not the right size bike for me.  I should have been on a 23 inch Trek 520 frame.  You can get many bike sizes to fit you.  And your 54cm Cannondale is not extremely small for you.  So with just a 13 or 14cm stem and raising the seatpost an extra inch or two, it will fit OK.  Professional bike racers often ride frames that are really one size too small for them.  And they use extra long stems and tall seatposts and it fits them.  They end up in the right position to ride 100s of miles day after day.  But it still does not mean its the right size bike for them.  At a normal 5'10" you need a bike frame with a 56 or 56.5cm toptube.  I am a normal 5'11" and I ride bikes with 57 or 57.5cm toptubes.  And 12cm stems.  And setback seatposts with the saddles slid all the way back.

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