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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: My "new-to-me" bike!
« on: July 30, 2013, 06:10:17 pm »
Would you wear your SPDs on days you are not riding the bike at all? How about having to replace those clips?

I wear my SPD cycling sandals as my only shoes when on tour.  In addition to flip flops for the shower.  Cycling sandals work great for walking around town or the campgrounds.  They are super comfortable on and off the bike.  Replacing the clips?  Do you mean replacing the SPD metal cleats on the bottom of the sandals?  SPD cleats never ever need replacing.  They are steel.  They are recessed into the sole of the shoe so see little wear on pavement.  When you are clipped in to the pedal you are not wearing the cleat on the pedal mechanism.  SPD cleats last forever.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Disc Trucker v. LHT
« on: July 03, 2013, 10:45:13 pm »
The leather Brooks bar tape is not a good idea.  Leather is slick when wet.  Wet from sweat or rain.  It will be very hard to hold onto your bars.  The leather used for the bar tape is also very thin.  It has no padding.  It will be about like grabbing the hard aluminum bar directly.  No comfort at all.  About like the old time Benotto plastic handlebar tape.  There is a reason different materials are used for different parts of bicycles.  Leather is not a good idea to use for handlebar tape.  The foam stuff used for tape now days works good.  It provides cushion so its comfortable.  And it has some texture to it so you can grab it when its wet and not have your hands slip off.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 27, 2013, 02:38:31 pm »
Ramps and pins on the chainrings are good.  They help shifting.  Essential, no.  Helpful, yes.  You have a nine speed 11-32 cassette.  I suspect you will ride most of the time on the middle or outer ring and do all shifting with the rear derailleur.  Shift the front rarely.  So you could easily do without ramps and pins on the chainrings.  They help shifting but they cost more.  Your choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 26, 2013, 07:41:19 pm »
The person has a 11-32 cassette.  A 22x32 low gear is 18.2 gear inches.  A 24x32 low gear is 19.9 gear inches.  If you think you can tell a 1.7 gear inch difference in a gear, you're living in a fantasy world.  Yes the percentage difference is important.  But you somehow forget it depends on what number its a percent of.  I get 8.3% difference between 22 and 24.  8.3% difference of 20 gear inches is about 1.7 gear inches.  8.3% of 100 gear inches is 8.3 gear inches.  It depends on what gear you are talking about.  Big difference between small gears and large gears.  Have you ever thought that is why the small cogs on a cassette change by one tooth.  While the large cogs change by 3 or 4 teeth.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 25, 2013, 03:36:13 pm »
I wholeheartedly endorse using mountain bike triple cranksets on touring bikes.  The 44-32-22 possible chainrings make lots of sense combined with the 11-32 or 11-34 9 or 10 speed cassettes available today.  More high gears than you need and low enough low gears.  Great.  But the person starting this thread already owns a Sora crankset and bottom bracket with 130mm bcd outer and middle rings and 74mm bcd inner ring.  So its cheaper and easier to just change the chainrings than to buy and install a new crankset and maybe bottom bracket too.  Putting a 24 tooth inner ring on his current crankset gets him a low of 24x32.  I toured Europe using that low gear so its low enough.  Cost wise he would be best to just replace the inner chainring with a 24 tooth and leave the 52 and 42 alone.  Just ride in the 42 and 24 rings all the time.  He has bar end shifters so he can shift anything fine.  If he wants to get crazy he could buy a new cassette for $34 from Nashbar and get 11-34 9 speed cassette.  Little bit lower gearing.  Not worth the money but...

Nashbar has Shimano XT cranksets in 44-32-22 for $200.  And a Race Face crankset in 44-32-22 with bottom bracket for $100.  So if he goes low cost he can end up with a mountain bike triple crankset for only about $30 more than replacing the chainrings  Worth it?

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 24, 2013, 04:11:25 pm »
If it were me, I would invest in a mountain bike compact triple crank set and the tools to do the job.  It sounds like the crank would be more that you want to budget, but the tools could be cheaper than what the dealer would charge you to do things.

Why are you advising the author to throw money in the toilet?  Your advice is very expensive compared to changing the chain rings.  The mountain bike triple you recommend can get down to a 22 tooth inner ring.  He currently has a road triple crankset with 130mm bcd for the outer and middle positions and 74mm bcd for the inner ring.  He can put a 24 tooth ring on his current crankset.  There is so little difference between a 22 and 24 inner ring that its not worth talking about.  You're advising him to spend an extra $100 to get two less teeth on the inner ring.  Big waste of money.  Cheapest and easiest is for him to just leave the outer and middle rings alone at 52-42, and replace the inner ring with a 24.  $15 plus the labor of changing the inner ring.  Or he could spend the extra $60 and change the outer and middle rings to 48-38 or 46-38 for fun.  But changing the crankset is throwing money in the toilet and flushing it down the drain.

For fun I went to Amazon and typed in "Sugino chainrings".  Came up with a $15.23 24 tooth 74mm bcd ring, $21.70 for a 130mm bcd ring, and $33.25 for a 50 tooth 130mm bcd ring.  If you looked closer I'm sure you could find other tooth counts for about the same price as listed here.  So for $70 in rings the author can have a 50-38-24 crankset using the crank and bottom bracket he already owns.  Minimal labor to change rings.  Your idea of a new crankset would not get within $100 of the $70 listed here.  And not have much better gearing either.  What is the point of spending more money than you need to?

Also do a search on Amazon for "Vuelta chainrings".  Vuelta and Sugino are comparable.  I came up with a $79 total for Vuelta 48-38-24 rings.

Gear Talk / Re: Touring crankset
« on: June 22, 2013, 02:51:16 pm »
The simplest fix for you is to change the chainrings.  The outer two rings are 130mm bolt circle diameter.  You can put anything from a 60 to 38 on those two positions.  The inner ring is 74mm bcd.  It takes down to a 24 tooth.  You can change the outer two rings by just loosening an allen wrench, five of them.  To change the inner ring you have to take the whole crankset off the bike because you can only get to the inner ring from the inside.  And the inner ring only fits from the inside.  It can't go over the spider from the outside.  You could probably get some Sugino rings for sort of cheap.  Check the internet.  Maybe 48-38-24 rings.  Or 46-38-24 rings.  Put them on the crank and bottom bracket you already have.

General Discussion / Re: Trikes and rumble strips...
« on: June 22, 2013, 02:41:18 pm »
Rumble strips?  Not sure why you are concerned with rumble strips.  Only place I see rumble strips are on county roads before stop signs.  Three of them with about a foot of solid road on the right side.  Upright bikes can get by them easily.  And the other place with rumble strips is along major highways on the paved shoulder.  These usually have about 6 inches of solid road on the right side so are not rideable by any bike.  And being major highways I would never ride that road anyway.  So why are you concerned about rumble strips for a tricycle?  You don't encounter rumble strips when riding.

Practically every Starbucks, McDonald's and many other fast food chains have free WiFi. You don't even have to buy anything, just stand outside with your bike. With Skype on my iPod touch, I don't even need to use a cell phone when I cross the US.

The ACA Northern Tier and Transcontinental routes go through small towns.  Use backroads.  There are close to ZERO Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, fast food restaurants on the route.  The ACA routes avoid all big towns.  And most medium towns.  The places to connect with free WiFi on the ACA routes are very few and very far between.  This is what happens when you choose a very rural route across the US instead of a metropolitan route.

I have very little knowledge of this subject.  But...  You can go to a Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Target and buy a phone off the shelf.  These will have monthly contracts you renew each month.  Or will have a number of minutes you can renew at will.  Some of these phones also have internet connection, smart phones.  Not sure how you could use that to connect a laptop computer.  Maybe there is a way.

General Discussion / Re: Choosing a bike and could use advice
« on: June 05, 2013, 03:40:28 pm »
Do not buy that bike.  It is very old and not high quality.  It will be difficult to change parts on it or even repair it.  The $350 price is also very high.  Wow.  Try to find a much more recent bike.  Even one of those hybrid style bikes would work for touring.  Or a mountain bike.  Anything but that bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Ultra Light TransAm Ride
« on: June 04, 2013, 04:41:59 pm »
I will change the cassette to 9 speed 11-34.
Make sure your rear derailleur will handle it. I don't know how to do that, but somebody here does.

You put the cassette on the hub and try to shift the derailleur.  If the upper pulley does not hit the cogs when in the lowest gear, it works.  32 cog always works.  34 cog may or may not work.  Just depends on how long your rear derailleur hanger is.

Gear Talk / Re: Ultra Light TransAm Ride
« on: June 03, 2013, 04:58:06 pm »
The cassette is a 9 speed 11/30.  So I gather I should change it for a larger one.  Yes?  The Sora front derailleur has never worked.  In general the SORA drivetrain has been a pain.  I'm willing to upgrade to the best touring drivetrain if it can be done affordably.

Your crankset is 52-42-30 currently.  You will do OK if you leave the cassette alone as 11-30.  But change the inner chainring on the crankset to 24 teeth.  It has a 74mm bcd inner chainring.  It will take down to a 24 tooth inner chainring.  A new cassette of 11-32 or 11-34 will cost $30-40, so it may be worthwhile to do that too.  Have someone competent look at the front derailleur and set it up.  It should work.  If you replace the STI shifters with Shimano 105 for instance, that will cost you $250.  Maybe another $40 for a new Deore rear derailleur.  And $30 for a new front derailleur.  Changing the shifting parts on a bike is exorbitantly expensive.  Figure out how to get the Sora working.

Trek has produced the 520 for years. Comments have been weak rear rack and not low enough gearing. I am turned off by the Kona by the high front rack braze-ons. Front rack bags should be centered on front axle for maximum stability.

Not low enough gearing on the Trek 520?  Bizarre.  It comes from the factory with 26x32 low gear.  Fairly low.  It has a crankset with 64mm bcd inner chainring.  So tell the bike shop to put a 22 tooth inner chainring on it before you buy it.  Easy.  22x32 is low.  And you could also tell them to put a 11-34 9 speed cassette on it before you buy it.  22x34 is very low.  You can also buy these parts from Nashbar for $34 cassette and $16 chainring.  $50 for super low gearing.  Can't complain about that.  Kona is the same gearing as the Trek.  So do the above to both bikes before you buy them.

Kona does have a high front rack for some reason.  It has two holes for bolting the rack on the fork.  Picture shows it using the lowest hole already.  Guessing Kona believes this is a semi mountain bike.  Have heard mountain bikes have high racks for clearance off road.

Long ago I had a Trek 520 touring bike and toured on it.  Worked fine.  Looking at the specs on the two bikes you mention, it appears they are pretty similar.  About the same components on both.  Just different brakes.  I like the simplicity of V brakes.  Others might like the supposed better stopping of disk brakes.  Looks like the Kona comes with fenders and front rack too.  Same price for both.  $1500+sales tax basically.  Trek will be about $80 higher once you put a front rack and fenders on it.  Your choice.  Doubt there is much difference in these two bikes.  Both will work.  You test rode both so that can help make up your mind.  The extra weight and sluggishness of the Kona may be due to the extra 2-3 pounds of the front rack.  Weight wise they should be about the same once equipped the same.  And if carrying four loaded panniers, the raw weight of the bike means nothing.  Handling will be identical once loaded with full panniers.  Steering will be sluggish.  That is what you get when you hang 20 pounds of panniers on the fork.  You can put a 22 tooth inner chainring on both bikes.  Great.  Have the bike shop do this before you leave the shop.  Make it part of the purchase price or you walk away.  Both bikes have 36 spoke wheels.  Blue Kona with blue fenders looks better.  If that matters.  The less sloped top tube on the Trek looks better to me than the radically sloped Kona top tube.  Guessing warranty is comparable.

I think both of these bikes will work perfectly for loaded touring and commuting where you are carrying weight/bags.

In summary, Ha.  These are the differences between these two bikes.
1.  Brakes.  Disc or V.
2.  Front rack and fenders come with the Kona, have to buy them extra for the Trek.
3.  Cost.  About $80 more for the Trek once it is outfitted the same.  Not enough to care about.
4.  Different length top tubes.  Trek has a 1+ cm shorter top tube.  This may make a difference in the small size you are looking at.

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