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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Aero Bars
« on: May 20, 2005, 02:06:33 pm »
I also have a set of Profile Century bars and use them on a bike I ride in Florida where the extra weight (~450 grams) isn't a consideration, since there are no hills worth mentioning, but the wind can be unrelenting. For that use they are a real advantage.  

BTW, I got mine for $13 ;p on the "returns" table at Nashbar when they still had a outlet store near Youngstown, Ohio.  

The Century bars, as John mentioned, don't have flip-up armrests so you can't put your hands on the bar tops anywhere near the stem.  For me, this is not a minor disadvantage.  If I were riding with aero bars all the time, I'd spend the extra money for a set that had flip-up armrests.

I made a mount for my cyclometer by zip-tying a short piece of 3/4" PVC pipe between the bar extensions and building up the diameter to 26 mm with electrical tape. It cost nearly nothing and is plenty secure for the cyclometer.  I don't think it would hold a headlight adequately and your arms would interfere with the light beam anyway.  An underbar light mount is probably the only thing that will work.

One other thing about aero bars, the extra weight out front makes the steering more touchy. No-hands riding is difficult which indicates you have to be more attentive under normal circumstances. They require some getting used to before riding on them is comfortable and gusty sidewinds can be a problem.  Like everything they have their upside and disadvantages.    

Gear Talk / Butterfly handlebar foam?
« on: May 02, 2005, 01:26:23 am »
You have a couple of options.  Home Centers and hardware stores sell tubular foam in several diameters for insulating pipes. You can use this as a base layer and wrap regular handlebar tape over it.

A second possibility is to wrap two layers of cork or padded cork handlebar tape.  This makes a remarkably resilient bar wrap but is more stable than foam.

Gear Talk / Will a cyclocross bike handle the weight?
« on: March 31, 2005, 07:11:05 pm »
Threaded dropout eyelets should allow you to easily fit a rear rack.  In fact, you could "double up" and mount both a rack and fenders using the same eyelets.  

Front racks can be mounted to a fork without eyelets by using P-clamps around the lower fork legs.  However, this is a bit of a jury-rig and the weight you carry on it should be limited.

I don't think 25 pounds, evenly distributed and kept low on a rear rack, will upset your bikes handling.  Last summer I credit-card toured with three friends and we were all on sports-type road bikes with only rear racks.  I had about 15 pounds of luggage in small panniers and a rack-top duffel.  The other three guys in my group carried as much as 25 pounds (one guy brought a guitar!). None of us had any handling or stability problems and we were in hilly country with daily 40+ mph descents.    

Gear Talk / Place to buy new softer seats?
« on: March 15, 2005, 01:44:39 pm »
Instead of a wide "squishy" seat which will probably interfer with your pedaling, how about mounting your current saddle on a suspension seat post?  That should protect your back without compromising your efficiency nearly as much.  

All of the mailorder places, Nashbar included, sell them.

Gear Talk / Touring shoe recommendations
« on: March 10, 2005, 03:00:01 pm »
Shimano makes a "dedicated" touring shoe; the current model designation is SH-T092 and they run about $90 in most LBS.
They are styled like road shoes and have three velcro straps.  The sole has a recessed cleat pocket but is otherwise relatively flat without the lugs of an MTB shoe.

I've ridden thousands of miles in them with great satisfaction.  The velcro straps allow on-the-bike adjustments and permit as good or better a fit as laces.  Walking is as good as any riding shoe permits since the stiff sole needed for good on-bike performance has to compromise walking a bit.  

Gear Talk / Softride touring bike?
« on: March 17, 2005, 01:00:54 am »
Prior to this bike I had a typical frame bike and hand numbness was common, in fact one of my friends (softride owner) recently purchased a new Ti bike and told me that numbness was an issue again.

I wouldn't expect a Softride frame to have any effect on hand numbness.  Elsewhere perhaps, but not your hands. :)      

Gear Talk / Softride touring bike?
« on: March 12, 2005, 07:09:27 pm »
There were several variations on the Softride concept but they all seem to have disappeared. I assume because the disadvantages outweighed the advantages.  

The only surviving use seems to be on tandems with a Softride-type beam for the stoker and that may be worthwhile since the stoker can't see the bumps coming and prepare for them.  

Gear Talk / touring on a used bike
« on: March 07, 2005, 12:46:25 pm »
Russel's recommendations for a general overhaul and maintenance check are good but I'll make one additional suggestion:  

Replace both the chain and cassette together. A new chain on a worn cassette is a sure recipe for skipping under load, particularly on the smaller cogs.  Slightly worn chainrings will easily tolerate a new chain but cogs won't.

New tires are a certainty and new brake pads a possibility.

As to the other parts, 4000 miles is practically brand new.  Nothing should need any more than relubing (hubs and possibly headset) and checking for adjustment.

If the bike fits, wear it. :)

Gear Talk / mountain bike frames for touring
« on: February 12, 2005, 06:00:52 pm »
Russell, interesting that you mention converting an MTB to road use as I did just that last year.  I converted an early-90's Trek 7000 to road bars and STI shifting. My costs were very low as I used a lot of components I already had on hand.

My Trek already had a rigid fork so no change was necessary.  BTW, check with your LBS before buying a new fork.  Mine has a huge collection of rigid MTB forks they kept when riders upgraded older MTB's to suspension forks.  You could probably get a suitable rigid fork for practically no cost. This presumes you want or can use a threaded fork as very few rigid  forks were made in threadless MTB configuration. NOTE: DO NOT use a threaded fork with a threadless headset and stem unless the steerer is so long you can cut off ALL the threads before fitting the stem.  

I bought a pair of NOS 25.4 mm SR drop bars from my LBS and a 1-1/8" quill stem from Bike Tools Etc.  

I was able to get the rear STI shifting to work very well.  I converted the stock 7-speed rear wheel to 8-speed by substituting an 8-speed freehub body and respacing and redishing the wheel.

Rear shifting is by a used 8-speed 105 STI lever I had in my parts box.  I couldn't get the front shifting to index properly with the 105 triple STI as the geometry of MTB cranks and front derailleurs seems to be different from their road counterpart.  I installed a friction barcon for the front.

I fitted a 12x25 8-speed cassette which, along with the stock 46/36/24 chainrings, gives a gearing range of 25" to 100".  

I replaced the 1.75" knobbies with 1.25" slick tires which are fine for road and Rail-Trail use and are much easier rolling.

The bike is used (with a rack and fenders) as a beater/rain/snow/errand bike and had been very successful for that use.  I expect it would do fine as a Tourer too.  


Gear Talk / mountain bike frames for touring
« on: February 08, 2005, 12:07:12 am »
Be careful of the 26" wheel generality.  There are several rim diameters all generically called 26".

The 26x1 (650C, ISO 571mm) road rim used on tri and some small frame road bikes.

The 26x1-1/2 (650B, ISO 584mm), an obsolete European size making an attempted comeback.  

The 26x1-3/8 (ISO 590mm) used on department store and old 3-speed bikes.  

The 26x1-3/4 (ISO 571mm) used on Schwinn cruisers.

Finally, the 26" MTB rim (ISO 559mm) used on most modern mountain bikes and some hybrids and Touring bikes.

I assume you expect the MTB (559mm) rim is common where you are going but you should check out what's really used.

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-7-05 @ 8:08 PM

Gear Talk / Road Bike for Touring?
« on: January 30, 2005, 03:41:04 pm »
I solve the problem with about $5 in parts and a little creativity...picked up a couple metal loop "thingys" at the hardware store and attach them to the front/rear forks.

The "thingys" you refer to are called "P-clamps" and are available at most hardware and home improvement shops.  They work after a fashion but tend to slip unless you can butt them right up against the dropouts.  If you use them be sure to get clamps with a plastic coating on the section that goes around the seat stays. This is critical with Al or carbon stays.  

There are racks that clamp directly into eyeless dropouts and are held in place by the QR skewers.  I believe Adventure Cycling sells them through their on-line shop and equipment catalogs.  None of this solves the heel-clearance problems that accompany short chainstays and big panniers.

Seatpost racks are very limited in carrying capacity (usually 15 pounds max.) and aren't very stable as they tend to pivot around the seatpost if heavily loaded no matter how you tighten the clamp. You mention that even your reinforced rack was cracking after a trip.  

In order to make the gears work and not have to replace everything, I bought a little switch at the bike shop that is attached on the handle bars.

The switch you refer to was offered as an aftermarket device years ago to allow STI double shifters to work with a triple crank.   When used, it changed the cable's effective length so you had access to any two chainrings at one time via the shifter. They effectively disappeared when both Shimano and Campy introduced STI/Ergo shifters that were designed for triple crank use.

You'll be astonished at the contraptions some people get by with.

You are certainly correct about this! :)


Gear Talk / Road Bike for Touring?
« on: January 22, 2005, 03:10:31 pm »
I'm not sure of the specifics of the Cannondale R-series frames but I doubt it has rear dropout eyelets and certainly doesn't have fork eyelets so mounting racks will be a jury-rig at best.  Even if you manage to mount racks, you will probably have heel-clearance issues due to the short chainstays.  The frame would probably support the weight but you have no good way to hang it there.

If you were planning on "credit card touring" (i.e. carrying only clothing and personal effects but no camping or cooking gear) it might work but not for self-contained touring.

That leaves you with the trailer as the best, or possibly only, option.

One other consideration, how is your R1000 geared?  Do you have low enough gears to handle hills with a loaded bike and/or trailer?  If you have a road double crank (53x39), you are geared way too high.  Road triples generally have a 30T granny and a 12x21 or 12x23 cassette.  Even that won't do for most tourists.  At the very least, substitute a 26T granny ring and a 12x27 cassette.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 1-22-05 @ 11:15 AM

Gear Talk / Surly Long Haul Trucker
« on: January 13, 2005, 07:34:29 pm »
Actually, there is a "good, inexpensive headset" available.  Shimano's Ultegra cartridge bearing headset (HP-6500) is extremely durable and less than $40. I have over 30,000 miles on one set of bearings in mine and the steering is still precise and smooth.
Unfortunately, it is available only in 1" and only for threaded forks so that probably won't help you.   Too bad. :(   Highly recommended if it fits your bike.
I agree that the high end Cane Creeks are good and the FSA Orbit XL is also.  These are cartridge bearing units so they avoid the tendency to pock mark (aka: brinell) the crown race that leads to "index steering" and spells the doom of most loose bearing headsets.

Chris King is the best available but priced WAY up there and, in my estimation, not worth the cost.

The handlebars you are describing sound like Rondanee (sp?) bars which are drop bars with the drops flared our a bit to increase wrist clearance.  These used to be common touring bars but I haven't seen them advertised in quite a while.  You might check the Rivendell web site and see if they have a line on these.  

Gear Talk / rear racks
« on: January 05, 2005, 03:47:41 pm »
....strong, inexpensive and preferably light weight racks...

There is a saying in the engineering field; "Fast, good, cheap.  Pick any two."

"Strong, inexpensive and light" falls in the same category.  If I were going on an off-road expedition where a broke rack would be a major hassle and possibly a danger, I'd pay what ever it took to get strong first and light second.  

Gear Talk / Road bars vs. Flat bars on a Tandem
« on: November 28, 2004, 01:36:24 pm »
Flat bars won't be a hand saver since their hand positions are much more limited than drop bars.  Also, used with the same stem, the flat bars will be just as low as your current drop bars.

A more upright position with road bars can be achieved by changing the stem.  Get a stem with a greater angle (say 0° or +10° instead of the typical  -17°) and/or get a stem with a longer quill.  Either will allow you to raise the bars.  

The Profile H2O stem is a 0° stem with a long quill and will allow a rather high bar position.  Rivendell Bicycle Works offers a Nitto stem that is -17° but has a very long quill and will also allow for a high bar setting.

This message was edited by DaveB on 11-28-04 @ 9:37 AM

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