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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Travel Cases
« on: October 13, 2004, 09:02:13 pm »
.....make sure you get the fork dropout spacers with it.

If dropout spacers don't come with your travel case or you are just shipping a bike in a cardboard box, you can make excellent spacers from trashed hubs.  Ask your LBS for wheels that have been damaged beyond saving or hubs with bad bearings.  Most shops have a few of these lying around and will be happy to give them to you.  

To reduce bulk and weight, I remove the axle, cones and locknuts from the hubs and throw away the hub shell.  Reassemble the cones and locknuts on the axle with the proper spacing and hold them in the dropouts with your skewers.  

You can use nutted hubs too but you need the proper size wrench(es) to put them in place and remove them so QR hubs work better.  

BTW, don't rely on the plastic slip-in spacers used to ship new bikes.  They don't fit tightly enough to stay in place for the type of shipping most of us do.  I found this out the hard way.  :(

Gear Talk / Trailer for Dog?
« on: October 12, 2004, 02:36:14 pm »
Why do you think your dog won't jump out of ANY trailer unless you restrain him?

Gear Talk / STI shifters for XT drivetrain?
« on: October 03, 2004, 10:06:53 pm »
STI rear shifters will work with almost any 7,8 or 9-speed road or MTB rear derailleur and with any cassette with the proper number of cogs. The only exception is 8-speed Dura Ace and you are unlikely to have to worry about it as it has been obsolete for years.  

STI front shifters require a road front derailleur to index properly.  However, this isn't a problem as road front derailleurs work fine with chainrings much smaller than they are designed to mate with.  For example, an Ultegra triple front der is designed for a 52T large chain ring but shifts fine with an RSX triple crank with a 46T large ring.  My son's older Trek 1200 came stock with this type of setup and shifts very well.

This message was edited by DaveB on 10-3-04 @ 6:08 PM

Gear Talk / Prescription Sunglasses
« on: October 02, 2004, 02:11:51 pm »
I've never used the inserts and always ridden with many regular prescription glasses and sunglasses.  However, frame type has a big influence on how much protection they provide.  A "closed bridge" is essential to keep the wind from bothering my eyes.  Frames with an open bridges and nosepads leak air.  Closed bridge frames aren't easy to find as they aren't as "fashionable" but they can be found and work well.  

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?

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