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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Importance of Disk Brakes?
« on: February 07, 2006, 11:27:45 am »
The only brakes out there that are sometimes not suitable for touring are the caliper brakes found on road bikes.  This is because there isn't adequate braking power while going down steep descents when loaded.

That's really not correct.  Modern double pivot caliper brakes have plenty of power and excellent modulation at reasonable hand pressure.  

Their disadvantage is limited clearance for fat tires and/or fenders.  Even "long reach" calipers don't offer the clearance that V-brakes or cantilevers do.

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-7-06 @ 7:28 AM

Gear Talk / Why can't I use a carbon fiber bike with a trailer
« on: February 07, 2006, 11:23:03 am »
The rims will also crack when they are just worn out by the rubbing of the brakes.  I think it is unlikely they cracked just because of the added weight.

Rims generally crack in one of two places:  

First is just what you reported, the brake track cracks from abrasive wear.  I've had several rims fail that way in from 11,000 to 30,000 miles depending oh how they were used, how much bad weather they were exposed to and how durable the rim was to begin with.  Very light rims are, obviously, less durable and less wear resistant.

The second mode of cracking is around the spoke holes which is a fatigue failure or caused by excessive spoke tension or poor rim design/material.

The tongue weight of a trailer is unlikely to accelerate either mode of failure.    

Gear Talk / Fenders
« on: March 17, 2006, 10:24:46 am »
Partial fenders are not nearly as good as full coverage fenders but are certainly better than doing without.  There are a lot of road bikes with frame, fork and brake clearances that won't allow full fenders so only clip-on partials will fit.

If full fenders fit, use them but, if not, anything is better than nothing.

Gear Talk / Touring Rear Wheel Recommedations
« on: December 05, 2005, 02:24:39 pm »
I know that Phil Wood sells a 48 spoke tandem hub which  is very reliable but quite expensive.  I don't if any others are available.

"Quite expensive" is a gross understatement.  Absurdly expensive is closer to the truth.  Also, a Tandem hub has a dropout spacing of 140 mm or more.  It won't fit most road, touring or MTB frames.

The need for 40 or 48 spokes for a single bike of any kind is a left-over from the era of plated spokes and weak rims.  Modern 32 or 36 hole rims with DT or Wheelsmith spokes will hold up for years under any reasonable conditions.  Current MTBs use 32 hole rims and 14 ga or 14/15/14ga spokes and they can be subject to stresses no touring bike will ever see.  How about a 19" low gear being cranked up a 30% grade by a strong 190 pound rider?  If those wheels survive, so will yours.

Finally 14/15/14 butted spokes are actually more durable than straight 14 ga spokes.  The thinner center section is a bit more resiliant and cushions the spoke ends.  Remember, except for severe mechanical damage, spokes always break at the head or the nipple end so the "weaker" center is not the failure point.

This message was edited by DaveB on 12-5-05 @ 10:32 AM

Gear Talk / Front Fork. Carbon vs Steel?
« on: December 05, 2005, 10:50:45 am »
All forks have rake, even straight-bladed forks.  In those cases, the rake is done at the fork crown and the fork blades come out at an angle to the steerer tube and place the wheel in same position as if the fork had a visibile rake.

Thank you.  You saved me the trouble of typing exactly the same thing.  There is so much mis-understanding as to what rake and trail are and what their relationship is.  

Gear Talk / Difference Longer Crank Length Makes
« on: November 16, 2005, 02:04:11 pm »
Your personal results may differ but every controlled study I've seen published says crank length has no effect on power output even over a much wider range of lengths than you have tried.  

In one of the better known studies, Lennard Zinn did  extensive testing using a wide range of riders of varying heights, leg lengths and riding styles and cranks from 160 mm to over 200 mm long.  His findings said there was no correlation with crank length and power output.  Some riders expressed a preference for one length or another but there was no objective improvement from their use.  

Short answer: use what you like but don't expect any significant improvement in power or speed. Your recent results may have been because you were expecting a difference and the outcome was self-fulfilling.  I don't think it will last long term.  

Gear Talk / touring shoes
« on: November 12, 2005, 10:42:58 am »
Shimano makes a specific touring shoe (SH-T092 is the current version) that is styled like a road shoe but has a recessed cleat pocket in an otherwise flat sole.  It doesn't have the awkward lugs of an MTB shoe but allows easy walking and accepts all SPD-type and Speedplay Frog cleats.  

I've been using the previous model (SH-T090)for several years. They work extremely well and are durable. The sole is stiff enough for good pedaling and to avoid "hot spots" from cleat pressure and they are a comfortable fit, at least for me.    

They don't seem to appear in any of the mail order catalogs but any LBS can get them for you.

Lake makes a sort-of universal touring shoe that accepts both SPD and Look road pattern cleats in a recessed sole but it is a lot heavier and clunkier than the Shimano model.  

As to the simplicity of "good old" (IMHO, more old than good) clips and straps, the comfort, efficiency and reliability of modern clipless pedals are so good that I would never consider going back to them unless I was touring in the darkest reaches of the third world.    

Gear Talk / Fenders
« on: November 07, 2005, 06:59:28 pm »
I have SKS/Esge fenders on my early 80's Trek "rain bike" and they work very well.  Zefal makes similar fenders so buy what you can find.  There is no significant performance difference.  Mounting is straight forward if your fork and rear dropouts have mounting holes and they come in silver and black so the color is a "one size fits most".

My fenders came with steel mounting screws (M5x.8) but replacing them with nylon screws is safer.  If something gets wedged between the tire and fender. The nylon screws will break and allow the wheel to keep turning.

Fenders make a tremendous difference on wet roads and in light rain.  They keep your shoes dryer and prevent the black streak from forming on your back.

In a downpour, nothing helps.

Gear Talk / skillets
« on: November 12, 2005, 10:21:23 am »
Apparently some of these coating use teflon, and at certain tempertures in the right conditions, it was was said to taint the food.

This was another of the usual overstated scare items that show up about nearly everything.  If you get current non-stick cookware hot enough to damage the coating, the food has become a cinder anyway.  Teflon is so inert that it is used in surgical applications.  Your concerns are unfounded.

Gear Talk / skillets
« on: October 31, 2005, 12:40:23 pm »
It sounds like the coating was defective.  They aren't THAT fragile. I'd contact Coleman about a warranty replacement.

Gear Talk / skillets
« on: October 30, 2005, 10:03:30 am »
Did you use a metal spatula to scrape the pan?  Most non-stick coatings are pretty fragile and the use of plastic utensils is almost universally recommended by the makers.

Gear Talk / Where to learn about bike parts?
« on: October 25, 2005, 12:18:17 pm »
There is also the Park Tool website ( that is a very valuable resource for bike repair and maintainance techniques.  You may not be interested in building a bike up yourself yet but knowing how it's done can be very useful information.

Gear Talk / Cello Bike Case
« on: October 11, 2005, 10:19:59 pm »
Oh, it's a case for a bike!  When I saw the thread title, I thought you wanted to carry a cello on your bike! :)

It's not that far fetched really, I tour with a guy who brings a guitar.

This message was edited by DaveB on 10-11-05 @ 6:20 PM

Gear Talk / A chain is a chain is a chain....or is it?
« on: September 08, 2005, 12:13:08 pm »
For practical purposes, specific 5 and 6-speed chains aren't available anymore. They both can use "8-speed" chains with no problems.

7 and 8-speed setups use the same chains which are now referred to as 8-speed chains.  Shimano's HG (road) and IG (MTB) 8-speed chains both work fine with road components.  HG 8-speed chains aren't recommended for MTB use but do work.

9-speed drivetrains need a 9-speed chain which is narrower than the others and 10-speeds need a 10-speed chain which is narrower still.

There are no road or MTB specific 9-speed chains and no 10-speed MTB components at all.

Shimano chains require a special pin to install and reinstall if they are removed.  SRAM and Wipperman chains come with a masterlink that allows removal and replacement without tools.  All chains require a good chain tool to shorten them, if required, when they are first installed.  

Buy the middle quality model in any maker's line.  The cheapest aren't as durable and the most expensive are generally just the mid-line chain with a prettier finish.

For your first replacement chain, buy from your dealer and have them install it. Once you know what to buy, have the proper tool and know how to use it, you can replace them yourself.

One other warning.  If you have a lot of miles on your chain, it is quite possible the new chain will skip badly on your current cassette cogs, particularly the cogs you use the most.  You may want to consider changing the chain and cassette together.  

Gear Talk / Atlantis, Mercian or Bob Jackson
« on: September 09, 2005, 08:58:42 pm »
respacing mountain bike rear derailleurs from 135mm to 130mm by removing washers/spacers.

Please explain this.  Dropout spacing can be altered from 130 to 135 mm and hub width can be altered between 130 and 135mm but how can a rear derailleur be respaced?  

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