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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / S+S Coupling Information
« on: July 27, 2004, 01:08:45 am »
I have a Co-Motion "Co-Pilot Road" ( a single bike, not a tandem, despite the name) with S&S couplers that I've had for six years and have taken to Europe and Asia several times.

The couplers  have absolutely NO effect on the "feel" of the bike and are completely transparent as to ride quality.  If you don't look at them you have no idea there is anything unusual in the frame.

They are extremely durable.  The ends are joined by interlocking tapered teeth and held in place by a threaded coupling nut.  They are self-adjusting for wear and made of such hard material that wear isn't a problem.  They will be the last thing standing when the rest of the bike is scrap.

Corrosion also is no problem.  The most common couplings for steel frames are made of hardened stainless steel and the couplings for Ti frames made of Ti with a stainless steel coupling nut.  S&S can supply less expensive Cr-Mo couplings to OEM builders but these are unusual and wouldn't be any more corrosion prone than any steel frame.  Again, any of the couplings will easily outlast the rest of the bike.  

There are two downsides to them.  1) They are expensive, adding $200 to $400 to the cost of the bike and repainting is required if they are retrofitted to an existing frame.  2) They add about 200 grams to the frame so the weight weenies will be troubled by that.

I highly recommend them.  

Gear Talk / Straight vs. drop handlebars
« on: July 22, 2004, 06:55:46 pm »
I certainly agree with Don's reasoning.  Drop bars are much more versatile and allow many more hand positions.  They are also more aerodynamic than any flatbar-barend setup.  If you don't think aerodynamics are important on a touring bike, just remember the last time you spent all day fighting a headwind. :)

I've ridden both flatbar and dropbar bikes and concluded flatbars belong on MTB's and very casual Railtrail bikes and that about it.  In fact, I recently  converted an old hardtail MTB to dropbars so it would get some use.

If you found the bars and brake levers too far away on the bikes you tried, it was probably mis-sized for you despite the frame being "my size".  By choosing the proper frame size, stem length, angle and height and dropbar configuration (they're not all alike) you should be able to find a comfortable fit. A knowledgeable bike shop should be able to help.

Gear Talk / Headlight Recommendations for use w/ handlebar bag
« on: July 03, 2004, 12:59:21 am »
Well, I see three possible solutions:

1. Fabricate an extension bracket that will elevate the lamp head above your bars enough to clear the handlebar pack.

2. Fabricate a bracket the will mount the lamp head on the bike's headtube below the handlebar pack.

3. Loose the antique pack and replace it with a newer more suitable design.

BTW, check out Performance's new 5-watt LED headlight.  It's supposed to be equivalent to a 10W halogen light but the batteries last much longer. Also, the "bulb" will last nearly forever and they run cool so they won't melt your h-bar pack.  I think this is the coming technology in bike lights.

Gear Talk / 27" touring tires?
« on: December 20, 2004, 02:35:02 am »
Nashbar and Performance both list 27" tires.  They aren't super light or the latest in cutting edge technology but they are available is a couple of widths and should be suitable for touring or recreational riding.

Gear Talk / Question on pedals and cleats.
« on: June 18, 2004, 11:23:53 pm »
The Frog cleat is significantly larger than the Shimano SPD cleat and the pedal spreads the load equally well.  I ride in both Frogs and Shimano 515s and there is no difference in foot pressure or foot comfort.  

The Speedplays are lighter, extremely durable (I have 30,000+ miles on my current pair) and the float works very well for me.  I recommend them.

Gear Talk / real (old-fashioned) touring shoes
« on: June 10, 2004, 02:44:11 pm »
In the late '80's I had two pair of the same Avocet shoes you describe and liked them a lot. Then I discovered clipless pedals (Speedplay Frogs) and have absolutely no desire to go back to clips, straps and the Avocet shoes.  

Actually, there are similar shoes currently available from Shimano and others that have ridged rubber soles but are not as extreme as MTB shoes.  They have a covered pocket intended for SPD cleats but don't require them.  

Even completely waterproof shoes will not keep your feet dry.  Water will run down your leg, enter the tops and soak you from the inside.  High booties tucked under waterproof rain pants will keep your feet and shoes dry for a while but not forever.  Also, waterproof shoes will contain sweat and your feet will get wet even on a dry day.  

Gear Talk / Wheelie need help
« on: April 29, 2004, 02:22:57 pm »
If your wheel failures are from breaking spokes, not bending or cracking rims, it sounds like the wheels were originally built with inadequate spoke tension.

Spokes break from fatigue, not from excessive load.  An excessively tight spoke will pull through the rim bed way before it will break from tension.  However, a too loose spoke will fail from fatigue since it goes too slack on every rotation and the fatigue loading is increased.  

Have your wheels rebuilt by a competent builder who will get the spoke tension properly high.  Also, as counterintuitive as it seems, butted spokes are more durable than straight gauge as the thinner center section can flex more and reduce the shock loads on the thicker ends.  Remember, spokes always fail at the ends, not in the middle. (Unless you hit something :))  

Gear Talk / Sleeping Bag Recommendation
« on: April 29, 2004, 02:18:12 am »
Some general thoughts on sleeping bags:

1. Avoid down. It is lighter and more compressable for a given warmth rating but water is it's deadly enemy.  Get it wet and you are doomed. Down is at its best in extremely cold conditions when all of the water is frozen!  Synthetic insulation still works when it is wet and it dries fast. Modern synthetics don't give up much in weight or perforannce to down.

2.  Avoid cotton at all costs.  Cotton is a moisture absorber and dries very slowly and wet cotton is a tremendous heat extractor.  Synthetics are the ONLY liners/covering to consider.  There is a saying among outdoors people; "cotton is a killer".

3.  Mummy bags are lighter, pack smaller and are much warmer since there is less space to heat. However they are confining.  If you need a lot of sleeping space, you may have to go with rectangular and pay the weight and space penalty.

4.  The manufacturer's temperature ranges are usually based on ideal conditions.  Buy a bag rated for at least 10 degrees below the worst you think you will need.   April and October can be mighty cold in the North and worse in the mountains.  Also, do you sleep cold?  Are you piling on the blankets when others are sleeping under only a sheet?  Take this into consideration when buying.   You can always sleep on top of a too warm bag but if your bag is inadequatly insulated you will be miserable.  

Gear Talk / Cyclometers for Touring
« on: April 01, 2004, 12:16:27 pm »
Is a "touring cyclometer" different from an "ordinary cyclometer"?  What do you expect it to do that is unique to touring?

My recommendation for any use is the Cat-Eye Enduro or its clone, the Cat-Eye Mity.  I have these on five of my bikes and my son, son-in-law and a friend have eight more among them.  They have ALL been 100% reliable and weatherproof.  In fact two of them are on bikes that are specifically used as rain and bad weather bikes.

Cat-Eye uses CR2032 batteries that are cheap, available nearly everywhere and last for years.  They also provide all the ride info I've ever needed; speed, total distance, two independently resetable distances (say daily and the entire trip), ride time, average and max speed and a clock. They can be set for two different wheel diameters so you can use the same head on two different bikes.  

The Enduro 2 and Mity 3 have been replaced by restyled but otherwise nearly identical models so they are available at closeout prices (less than $20) from Nashbar, etc.  These are screaming deals.

My only other experience says avoid Avocet cyclometers.  They have proven extremely unreliable over the last few years.  

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 28, 2004, 12:00:49 am »
$3,700 was just the cost for replacing rear hub, cassettes, and derailleurs for downhill races.

Aha!!  Now I understand.  In fact I'm surprised it was only $3700!

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 27, 2004, 11:48:29 am »
Your experience with the Rholoff hub has been good and I've heard complimentary things about them from other riders so they do work.    

However, I think your economics are a bit off as 18,000+ miles on a conventional drive train isn't particularly difficult.  I put over 28,000 miles on an 8-speed  105 STI triple drivetrain and my maintainance consisted of five cassettes ($25 each) and five chains ($15 each) in that time.  Both the derailleurs and crank needed no maintainance other than periodic lubing and superficial cleaning.   My experience is typical, not unusual.  

What I don't understand is how you spent $3700 in maintainance costs in five years.  What on earth did you do to those bikes to need that level of expense?

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 26, 2004, 12:32:45 pm »
Other than cost and weight, the Rohloff hub has two more disadvantages/problems:

1. The shifter is intended for straight bars and not suitable for drop bars.  I've heard of a couple of home made adapters to allow the use of drop bars but they were somewhat jury-rigged and required a fair bit of do-it-yourself construction.

2. The Rohloff hub requires horizontal dropouts to properly tension the chain, rather like a fixed gear or single speed setup.  If you get very lucky with your chainring/cog/chainstay length combination vertical dropouts can work but you can't be sure until you try it.  Rohloff does offer a chain tension device (sort of a stripped down rear derailleur) to allow vertical dropout use but that defeats some of the simplicity of the installation.

BTW, I just looked up the "Schlumpf speed drive" on Sheldon Brown's web site. My first thought was that it was one of his annual April 1 articles but apparently it's real.  What is also is is EXPENSIVE!  One of these plus the Rholoff hub totals over $1300.

The cost of a couple of chainrings and a derailleur or even a new crank is negligable in comparison.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 3-26-04 @ 2:46 PM

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 15, 2004, 12:37:20 am »
Not sure about Dura Ace but I'm pretty sure an Ultegra front derailleur will work fine with a 26-36-48 crankset.  My son had a Trek that came with an RSX crank with 26-36-46T chainrings and a 105 (same geometry as Ultegra) front derailleur.  It shifted fine with STI despite the small "big" ring.  

Also, I've modified a bunch of 8-speed and 9-speed Shimano road triple cranks from 30-42-52T to 26-42-52T and they also shift well with 105 or Ultegra front derailleurs even though the range exceeds Shimano's published recommendations.

The point of all of this is that the road front derailleurs are pretty tolerant of chainring sizes and total teeth. You should be fine.    

Gear Talk / Attracting investor to back glove invention
« on: February 28, 2004, 02:44:18 pm »
Have you considered licensing the design to one of the established cycling clothing makers?  If your design is as revolutionary as you say, Voler, Pearl Izumi, Cannondale, etc. may be interested in producing them on a royalty basis or buying the rights outright.

Another possibility is a bank loan, maybe a home equity loan, since interest rates are at historic lows now.  Keep in mind a private investor is going to want a big share of whatever profits you generate where as a loan just has to be repaid and the rest is your to keep.      

Gear Talk / Best touring bike buy
« on: February 22, 2004, 09:37:55 pm »
Haven't had a lot of responses have you?  

I don't know about the Giant OCR but the Trek 520 has been around forever and seems to have an excellent reputation.  It may not be the leading edge of technology but appears to have done the job well for a long time.

The Trek's gearing is poorly chosen but typical of major manufacturer's touring bikes.  A 30/42/52 crank coupled with an 11x32 cassette gives an absurdly high top gear (127 gear-inches!) and a moderately low low gear of 25 gear-inches.  Changing the crank for a more useful 24x36x46 or 22x34x44 MTB crank would be a worthwhile improvement and your dealer may be willing to do this at minimal cost.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-22-04 @ 5:43 PM

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