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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Moutain bike Lights
« on: December 07, 2008, 03:49:55 pm »
If all you are doing is reporting on lights you found good quality and have no interest in the company, then: "Hi, welcome newby." and apologies all around.

However, we have had similar postings that turned out to be ads for the poster's company and that's why the suspicious sound of the first reply.  

Gear Talk / Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: December 02, 2008, 07:18:26 pm »
You are the second person with a favorable comment. How tough is it to break the bike down and reassemble it? When touring, what do you do with the case? Ship it home or send it to a future location, ie, motel to hold? Bob

Disassembling and packing an S&S bike is about a 30 minute job if you are experienced and a lot longer the first few times.  The actual couplers come apart in seconds and, assuming you have cable splitters for the shift cables and rear brake, they disconnect very quickly too.  You also have to remove the pedals, rear derailleur (let it hang from its cable)and the bars/stem assembly.

The slow part is padding each frame tube with the Velcro-fastened padded wrap that comes with an S&S equipped bike.  Cutting them to custom length for each tube the first time takes quite a while but you only do that once.  

Once the padding is in place, the various parts are placed into the case in a specified order.  The tires of a 700c bike have to be deflated (not removed) to get the wheels in and the whole case closed on the resulting jig-saw puzzle.

Reassembly is a bit faster but still a 20-30 minute job. Be sure to pack a good frame pump or strong mini-pump.  The Topeak Road Morph pumps are particularly good for this.  

I've never traveled point-to-point with my bike so the case remains at my starting point and I pick it up for the return trip or I just take day trips. I use mine only for vacation and business trips.

I think if I were going to tour so that I couldn't return to the start, I'd either not bother with the couplers and pack the bike in a cardboard bike shipping box from an LBS or disassemble it but use a disposable packing carton that was smaller than a bike box.

Note to MRVere: NEVER Loctite the couplers.  S&S recommends a teflon based high-pressure DuPont grease which works very well and absolutely prevents seizing and galling of the coupler threads.  As I said above, tighten them properly and they stay tight until you want to uncouple them.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 12-2-08 @ 4:23 PM

Gear Talk / Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: December 01, 2008, 06:03:55 pm »
There is a down side to couplers--the couplers can come loose.  So you have to check them every ride.

That's not correct.  If you torque them properly they do not loosen ever.  I have a Co-motion Co-Pilot (a single bike) with S&S couplers and once they are tightened they never loosen on their own. I do check them periodically but they never need to be tightened once they are assembled.  

Gear Talk / STI vs. Bar ends
« on: November 22, 2008, 06:39:52 pm »
The bike's wheelbase is too short to do bar end shifters (I would get stabbed every time I used the bike).

The wheelbase should have nothing to do with whether your knees clear barend shifters.  I may be your bars are too narrow or you stem too short.  

Some riders cut an inch or inch and a half off the ends of drop bars when installing barends so the length of the hooks don't change.  I've never found this necessary but it's worth considering.  

Gear Talk / STI vs. Bar ends
« on: November 21, 2008, 02:05:04 pm »
For a while there was one alternative to all of these shifter options: "Kelly Take-Offs".  They consisted of brackets that mounted under regular drop-bar brake levers and allowed mounting downtube levers just inboard of the brake levers.  

You had most of the convenience and accessibility of brifter but with the simplicity, friction option, cost and durability of downtube shifters. The cable runs were a cross between barends and Shimano brifters.

Unfortunately they never really caught on or were not publicized enough and are now only available NOS on e-bay, etc.  Originally they cost $40 plus the cost of the dt shift levers.

I have a set of Kelly Take-offs using Shimano 7-speed downtube shifters mounted on my rain bike.  As I said, they provide most of the convenience of brifters at much less expense.  

Gear Talk / STI vs. Bar ends
« on: November 17, 2008, 08:12:52 pm »
Just another data point.  I have not found STI to be particularly finicky the only adjustment that seemed to ever change at all once set up was the cable length.  The upper and lower limits are set the same whether STI or bar end and neither require any attention once dialed in.

Absolutely my experience exactly.  I've used 7,8,9 and 10-speed STI's and Campy Ergos for years and find them very reliable and they definitely hold their adjustments.  All indexing shifters of any type need minor tweaking after a cable change as the cables "bed in" but STI/Ergos are no worse than barends.  

I've also used barend shifters and do like them but STI/Ergo brifters are far more convenient.  

I would  recommend barend shifters to someone taking a bike "way back of beyond" as they have a friction option and are mechanically simpler but for anywhere near civilization, STI/Ergo brifters are my clear favorite.  

Gear Talk / Touring Bike
« on: November 21, 2008, 02:13:27 pm »
I guess I would have to disagree on the 26inch wheels.  There is something called a 26inch road wheel.  I don't know what Surly uses for their 26inch rims.

A friend of mine got a custom touring bike built for his wife.  Based on her size, the dealer and frame vendor elected to build the frame based on a 26inch wheel.  The dealer fabricated a wheel based on a 26inch road rim.  The bike has ended up being a disappointment as there are limited choices for tires that fit the bike.

The 26" road wheel you friend's wife has is otherwise known as a 650c wheel (ISO 571) and, as you noted, there are limited tire choices in that rim size and they are not widely avaialble.  I agree it was a mistake to specify them for her general purpose use.

The Surly uses 26" MTB wheels(ISO 559) and there is a huge variety of tire widths and types available in that size and even the X-marts cary some of them.

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-21-08 @ 11:13 AM

Gear Talk / Touring Bike
« on: November 15, 2008, 10:58:16 am »
I contacted Surly about a question I had concerning two wheel sets they have listed. They told me that the 700c wheel set only comes on bikes 56 cm and up. I take a 54 cm. which would have 26 wheels. The Performance (if you checked my blogsite) has 26. It just seems to make more sense  to use a larger wheel.  True?

The reason for the smaller wheels on small frames is two fold; 1)they reduce stand-over height a bit and 2)they eliminate toe-overlap (i.e. the front tire hits the tip of your shoe) on tight turns.

It seems the 26" wheels are on MTB rims (ISO 559),   not 650C (ISO 571).  They give you a wide choice of tire widths and types, so are very versatile.

I don't see any downside to these 26" wheels for a touring bike. 700c wheels can be lighter and use thinner, lighter tires with a bit less rolling resistance but none of that is germain for touring.

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-17-08 @ 5:15 PM

Gear Talk / Raleigh Sojourn
« on: December 28, 2008, 01:20:47 pm »
A cheap $35.00 steel wheel on the front should take you across the continent without trouble.

This is very poor advice.  Yes a cheap steel rimed wheel might have the structural strength but it will provide such dismal braking, particularly in the wet, that no one should ever use one.  A steel front rim is even worse than a rear because that's where most of the effective braking occurs.

Gear Talk / Sealed bearings--How many miles?
« on: October 31, 2008, 09:39:37 am »
ISIS bottom brackets were highly variable in quality.  Some wore out very quickly and others were fairly durable.  

Octalink (Shimano) bottom brackets are similar in concept but generally much more reliable.  I have two that are 15,000+ miles old and still in excellent condition with no play and no noise.

Shimano's older square taper cartridge bottom brackets were very durable also.

Gear Talk / Dry Feet
« on: October 10, 2008, 11:01:06 pm »
Unfortunately, I have to agree with bogiesan.  You can't keep you feet dry in a heavy rain.  The best you can do is try to keep them warm.  In warm weather it's no problem, just annoying.  In cold weather you have to keep your feet warm and neoprene or insulated shoe covers will do it even if wet.  

Fenders are effective with wet roads if it isn't actually raining but they only delay the inevitable in a real rain.  Same for shoe covers.  Even fully "waterproof" shoecovers can't keep the water from running down your legs into your shoes.

Once you stop for the day, stuffing wet shoes with newspaper and changing it a couple of times will do a very effective job of drying them out.  Until the next rain.    

Gear Talk / Touring Stove
« on: October 07, 2008, 11:53:05 am »
Some ideas for getting small amounts of fuel for a white gas/unleaded gasoline stove:  

1. Stop at a gas station and approach someone who is filling their car.  Ask them to add gas to your fuel bottle (bring a small funnel) and offer to pay for the 1 qt or what ever it takes.  The cost should be less than $1 even at today's prices.

2. Stop at a gas station and go around to all of the pumps not in use.  Remove the nozzle from the pump and drain the residual gas into your fuel bottle.  Many people replace the nozzle without draining it and a few pumps may provide all you need free.

3.In any commercial or public campground, find someone with a Coleman stove or lantern and offer to buy a small amount of Coleman fuel from their large can.  

BTW, denatured alcohol (ethanol treated to be non-drinkable) is available in most hardware and home center stores in the paint section, often in 1-qt or 1-pint cans.  It is the solvent used for shellac.

Gear Talk / mtb shoes
« on: September 23, 2008, 09:40:04 am »
The debate about float is never ending but, except in rare cases, it's nothing but beneficial.  

My MTB/beater bike pedals are Shimano SPD's with what ever shoes fit your feet and budget.  These pedals are relatively inexpensive, durable, clear mud and debris well and replacement cleats are readily available.

I have no personal experience with Egg Beaters but I've heard reports that the cheaper versions have serious bearing problems.  The better ones seem well liked by the couple of people I know who use them.

BTW, Speedplay Frogs are wonderful road pedals but dreadful for off road use despite being advertised as MTB pedals.  The cleats clog instantly in mud or gritty conditions.  

Gear Talk / Equipment Qestions For A New Guy
« on: September 17, 2008, 10:36:27 am »
You will want booties if it is under 40F.  Get yourself a silk or synthetic balaclava too (fleece is overkill).

I agree about the booties, particularly in <40° weather.  Neoprene booties are heavy and bulky but work when nothing else does.  Sidetrak neoprene booties are a decent compromise between bulk and warmth.  

I disagree about fleece balaclavas being overkill. In the 30's and below they are a great comfort and don't get soggy with sweat.  A helmet cover is also a worthwhile addition in the cold or rain and Suguoi makes the best one I've found.  

Gear Talk / Tandem Roof Top Rack
« on: September 02, 2008, 09:25:30 pm »
I have a couple of front fork mount blocks bolted to a 7" x 40" piece of 1/2" plywood for carrying up to two bikes in the rear bay of my Honda CRV.  I stapled several 6" long pieces of the "hook" part of 2" Velcro to the bottom of the board so it grabs the carpeting and stays in place.

I'm sure something similar, sized to fit your van, would work.  

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