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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Outfitting a Trek 7.5 FX for a full summer tour
« on: October 24, 2012, 09:28:35 pm »
With a BoB trailer, the wheels may not be as susceptible.  But they are still not ideal.  You're better off with more spokes.  If one of the 24 spokes breaks, the wheel will be unusable.  It will rub the brake pads.  And it likely takes special spoke wrenches so regular DT ones won't work.  And it will be about impossible to find a replacement spoke.  The wheels are a liability.

You can get a tiny bit lower gearing by putting on a 33 tooth inner chainring.  About 1 gear inch lower.  Might not notice the difference.  Without the triple crankset, your gearing is not good for touring.  You want low gearing around 20 gear inches or lower for loaded touring.  Even with a trailer.  It might be fairly easy to put on a Shimano double mountain bike crankset to get lower low gearing and lower high gears too.  Might be the easiest to substitute just the crankset and put on a smaller inner chainring.  Then when the tour is over, put back on the original crankset.  Not cheap, but easiest.

A triple crankset was suggested.  Problem with this is you will also need a new shifter for the front derailleur to handle a triple crank.  Very expensive.  So to get good low gearing, you have to stay with a double crankset.  See links above.

General Discussion / Re: Libraries and Touring
« on: October 15, 2012, 05:14:15 pm »
The library in the suburb next to me is useless for bicyclists.  You have to be a member and have your card to check onto the computers.  I suspect most libraries in the US work this way.

Routes / Re: Barcelona to Amsterdam
« on: October 01, 2012, 03:14:00 pm »
Twenty years ago I rode north through Germany, eastern side, and down into Netherlands along that very long dike.  I don't recall there being any consistent wind direction.  You're going to be riding amongst the Alps and Pyrenes mountains.  And inland a long way.  There won't be any consistent wind direction due to the mountains.  And everything else that affects wind direction.  Pyrenes go north south along your west side.  Alps go east west along your east side.

Gear Talk / Re: 29er vs 26
« on: September 27, 2012, 08:15:32 pm »
Just in case there is anyone who does not know...  A 29" wheel is a 700C wheel.  700C wheels have been used for many years on road bikes, hybrid bikes, touring bikes.  The 29" wheels on mountain bikes do have wider rims than road 700C wheels.  And take wider tires.  2"+ width possible.  As already stated, there are many factors whether your wheel will be strong enough.  Tire size being one of them.  If you run 2"+ width low pressure 29" tires, you can get by with fewer spokes.  Put on 23mm width tires and 32 spokes may not be enough for a loaded touring bike.  32 spokes with wider tires, 35mm or more, will work fine on a loaded touring bike.  Not ideal, but it will work.  A 26" wheel will be stronger than a 29" wheel with the same number of spokes.  Contrary to popular opinion, first thoughts, the bigger wheel is LESS STRONG than the smaller wheel.

Routes / Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« on: September 24, 2012, 09:24:44 pm »
The rail trails in the Des Moines area have had the ambulance on them to get me.  Another time it did not come down the trail and I had to walk a few hundred yards to get to the ambulance.  So it must depend on a variety of things.  But the ambulance can get onto the trail and will if needed.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain repair
« on: September 06, 2012, 10:49:35 pm »
On Labor Day I replaced a master link in a guy's chain.  I always carry a chain tool and 9 spd and 10 spd master links.  Did not need the chain tool on Labor Day.  Apparently just the master link came out.  I've broken a rear derailleur hanger and had to turn the bike into a single speed with the chain tool.  Any 9 speed master links will work in any 9 speed chain.  Any 10 speed master links will work in any 10 speed chains.  Brand of chain and master link is unimportant.  Any new modern chain tool (Park for example) will break any 9 or 10 speed chains.

Gear Talk / Re: Help me accesorize my Surly LHT
« on: August 17, 2012, 10:24:34 pm »
Mirror - I was looking at a helmet mirror vs handlebar.  Any suggestions?  I'm afraid the handlebar mirror will accidentally get broke off especially since I don't plan on having a kick stand. 

Last bit of advice I need and I have read the posts but one more time:  26 vs 700 wheels?

I prefer a mirror on my glasses.  Take A Look is the model.  Its always in the same spot then.  Glasses generally go on your face in the exact same spot.  With a helmet mirror, the mirror will not be in the exact same spot every time.  Helmets don't go on your head in the exact same spot every time.  You also lay your helmet down often so the mirror would get bumped frequently.  As for handlebar mounted mirrors, I know several people with the ones that mount in the bar end spot.  They seem to like them.  I had a Rhode Gear model that went on the brake hood.  It was very good.  Would not work with STI though.  Only normal brake levers that pull only the brakes.  As for breaking the mirror, you just have to be careful when you lean the bike.  You'll get used to being careful quickly.  Breaking the mirror is not something to worry about.

26" or 700C?  I've heard 26" is more common in the less developed parts of the world.  Asia and South America.  In western Europe both are common.  Not sure about eastern Europe.  Wal-Mart in the USA carries both sizes now.  Both sizes are equal.  One thing to consider for the LHT is what size of 26" tire it will take.  Will it fit the 2" wide knobby 26" tires?  If so then it probably wins the availability contest.  Barely.  But if the LHT only accepts 1.5" wide 26" tires, then it does not have much advantage.  Wide knobby 26" tires are very available.  Narrower 26" tires are not as common.  So if the LHT cannot accept the wide knobby tires, it does not give much advantage for availability.

Gear Talk / Re: handlebar bags
« on: August 10, 2012, 05:35:19 pm »
Go with sandals and SPD pedals and you can eliminate the extra pair of shoes.  For off bike clothes, shorts and T-shirt.  Maybe 1-2 pair cycling shorts.  1 jersey.  1-2 socks.  The other miscellaneous gear you mention should fit in a saddle bag wedge.  Camera in the handlebar bag.  Not much else needed.  You could easily fit all this in a handlebar bag.  In randonneuring, long rides, people carry all kinds of stuff in big handlebar bags.  Extra clothes, tools, parts, lots of food.  Sometimes supported by a front small rack.  Gilles Berthoud and Carradice are very popular brands of handlebar bags for randonneuring.

Instead of a large handlebar bag, you can go with a large saddlebag.  Carradice is the standard here.

Another option is to go with a rear rack or seatpost rack.  Then put a large rack bag on it.  There are a few models with fold out side panniers.  Topeak makes some.  That would give lots of storage space.

Gear Talk / Re: help choosing a bike
« on: August 08, 2012, 03:18:17 pm »
I disagree with Russ. There are differences between stock and custom bikes just as there are differences between a custom made suit and a suit off the rack; just as there are differences between a Huffy and a Trek. After being happy with my stock bikes, I decided to invest in a custom bike. My last two bikes have been custom (Waterford) and I can tell the difference in the ride and how I feel at the end of the ride. An added benefit is the very noticeable craftsmanship differences. There are some excellent stock bikes and investing in a custom bike is not necessary to enjoy riding, but there are differences, and that is why there is a difference in cost.

I have a stock Southwick suit that cost a few dollars.  I am sure it is far superior to the vast majority of custom suits sold.  I also have a stock Waterford.  The finest of lugged bikes.  Reynolds 753 frame.  Silver soldering on the small lugs.  Beautiful red paint.  Are you implying that Waterford makes good custom frames and crap stock frames?  Do you think they use different welders, cutters, painters for the custom and stock frames?  The good people make the custom bikes and the worthless people make the stock frames?  Odd.

If your body shape requires a custom frame, get one.  It will fit you better.  Assuming the maker measures you correctly and knows how to design frames.  Not a given.  But if you are like 99+% of the people and have normal shaped bodies, you don't need custom frames.  Stock will fit you perfectly fine.

Gear Talk / Re: help choosing a bike
« on: August 07, 2012, 02:54:15 pm »
Why not have a custom bike built instead?
Simple answer for most of us; $$$.

As well as the fact custom is not needed for the vast vast majority of people.  There is a reason that stock frame sizes exist and are roughly the same across most bikes.  They fit people.  No need for custom angles and tube lengths.  Or the various special braze-ons and doo hickeys a custom maker can add.  They are not on every bike made because they are not needed.

Not saying you should not buy a custom frame.  But the final bike you end up with will almost certainly be identical to a factory bike you can buy in a store.  No difference.

Gear Talk / Re: Help me accesorize my Surly LHT
« on: August 05, 2012, 07:59:20 pm »

Cyco Active BarMap for a map holder.  They make a couple different sizes.  The one I like is about 8 inches by 8 inches.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 or Opus Legato?
« on: July 30, 2012, 04:43:11 pm »
I like the components on the Opus better.  STI over barend shifters.  Pretty much all Shimano components function good.  It does not matter if they are XTR or Tiagra.  They work.  Only one to avoid is Sora shifters.  I have a 10 speed touring bike and like it.  Works perfectly.  Durability of 10 speed?  Whatever.  Put the chain together properly and you will never have problems.  Not sure the cogs are any thinner.  The plastic spacers on the cassette may be the only thinner part.  So no longevity issues.

It is very easy to get lower gearing on the Opus.  Its crank has a 74mm bcd inner chainring.  It will take a 24 tooth inner chainring.  Have the shop put one on as part of the sale before you leave the store.  Also put a 10 speed cassette on with 32 or 34 big cog.  May have to go with a 11 tooth small cog.  Have the shop do this before you leave the store as part of the sale.  SRAM and Shimano make 10 speed cassettes with 32 or 34 teeth.  MAY have to change the rear derailleur to a mountain derailleur.  MAY.  Shop can do this too before you leave the store.  May not have to change the rear derailleur.  Have to try it to see.  26x32 on the Trek is the same as 24x30 on the Opus.  Identical low gearing.  You can put down to a 22 inner ring on the Trek.  Can go to a 34 cassette on both.  Both bikes can easily get to very low gearing.

As an extra caution, put on a chain watcher.  Mounts on the seattube below the front derailleur and has guides to keep the chain from coming off the inner chainring.  Extra safety.  Many models out there.  Do a Google search on chain watchers.

Gear Talk / Re: Bar End shifters vs
« on: July 17, 2012, 03:04:34 pm »
Barends are said to be more reliable but I have Shimano 105 brifters on my knockaround/training bike that are about 35 years old and have had very heavy use and little care or maintenance.

Hopefully you can still edit your comment and fix the obvious error.  Shimano introduced STI (brifters, dual control brake/shift levers) for road bikes in 1990.  That was about 22 years ago.

Gear Talk / Re: Bar End shifters vs STI
« on: July 16, 2012, 04:24:57 pm »
As already stated, you can use the exact same gearing with either bar-end shifters or STI.  Identical gearing.  Some people make the incorrect claim that STI does not work with very small inner chainrings.  But this is a problem with their setup, not the shifters.  Cost wise, bar-end are cheaper.  But not much.  $90-100 for 9 or 10 speed bar-end shifters.  $35 for a set of good brake levers.  You're at $130 for bar-end shifters.  Ribble Cycles in England has 105 STI for $187 and Ultegra STI for $284.  So just about a $60 price difference.  Not much really.  I suppose bar-end are sturdier and less likely to get broken.  But if you crash, there are no guarantees.  Anything can break or not break.  So durability is likely a function of chance.  I have seen more than a few STI with busted off covers and such.  So maybe durability favors bar-end.  STI are more complex and are more susceptible to wearing out and not working.  So longevity is probably with the bar-end shifters.  I have worn out a set of bar-end shifters.  7 speed Shimano.  After many years and miles they did not click very positively and were vague when shifting.  Hard to find the right gear.  In the end they were more friction shifters than index shifters.  They still functioned so the die hards might claim they were not really worn out.  Have not broken any STI shifters yet.  But I have seen them fail on rides.  So its just a matter of time until they fail.  Hopefully they won't fail when its inconvenient.  STI cannot be repaired.  Only replaced.  For ease of shifting, convenience of shifting, joy of use, one is better than the other.  I'll let you figure out which is the winner.  Ride bikes with both sets of shifters and you will know.

Sure its doable.  Biking is not really that physically demanding.  Provided you ride at a fairly slow pace, you can cover about any distance.  Of course the slower you ride, the longer it takes.  But biking does not physically harm you.  Unlike running for instance, which does literally pound and tear up your body.  Biking is not an impact activity and does not harm you.

My concern is with your lack of any bike mechanic knowledge.  Flat tires will occur.  Guaranteed.  Chains will come off.  Bolts will come loose.  Handlebars will get turned.  Derailleurs will go out of adjustment.  All of these are easy to fix with a little knowledge and a few simple tools.  But they can all ruin a trip or cause days of delay if you do not know how to fix them immediately.

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