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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / Rear Wheel
« on: September 01, 2005, 07:18:43 pm »
I ride on 30 year old Phil Woods with these Mavic rims and 3x DT spokes. Like I said - bulletproof.

The only problem is that your Phil Wood hubs require freewheels. Quality freewheels are getting very hard to find, are available in limited cog ranges and absolutely no one makes a 9-speed freewheel.  

Phil Wood still offers freewheel rear hubs at $140 (hub only) but these have all the drawbacks I mentioned above.

Phil Wood does make freehubs splined for Shimano cassettes.  The drawback is these things cost $360 just for the hub!

LX or XT hubs will last an extremely long time if given even a slight amount of care, can be maintained by anybody, their cost is very reasonable and they take a huge range of readily available cassettes.

Gear Talk / compact double or triple for low gears?
« on: July 19, 2005, 04:45:12 pm »
Some thoughts:

Shimano doesn't make a 13x29 cassette.  Only Campy does and you can't use it on a Shimano hub or with Shimano shifters.

The widest range Shimano 9 or 10-speed road cassette is 12x27.  Shimano makes 12x32 and 11x32 MTB cassettes but only in 9-speed form.

Sheldon Brown at Harris Cyclery has custom Shimano 9-speed road cassettes in 13x30 and 13x32 format. I don't know if he has them in 10-speed yet.

Nine speed components will be obsolete quite soon. Dura Ace and Ultegra are already 10-speed and 105 will be next year.  9-speed components will be available for quite a while but will be special order only.  That's the problem with the F70.

A compact crank is limited to a 34T small chainring and there is no way you can get the same low gear as a triple.  Most road triples come stock with a 30T granny ring which can be cheaply changed out for a 26T.  This works fine and I've done it on a dozen 8 and 9-speed cranks.  A 26x25 gives a 28" low gear and a 26x27 gives a 26" low gear.  You can have super low gears with a reasonable range cassette like a 12x25 or 12x27 and not have to change the rear derailleur or have huge gaps in the cassette gearing.  

Compact cranks with a normal double front derailleur don't shift ideally but they are still very good.  The "special" front derailluers marketed by FSA and Campy only provide a slight improvement.  I wouldn't let that influence me one way or the other.  

Gear Talk / Which camera???
« on: August 16, 2005, 09:14:26 pm »
There are several advantages to a digital camera over a conventional film camera for trip use.  

1. You can "proof" your shots immediately and redo the ones that didn't come out the way you wanted them to.  You can erase the mistakes and not waste film or storage capacity on unwanted photos.  Instant gratification can be important if you are unlikely to ever be in that location again.

2. You can "process" digital shots by burning them onto CD's at any office supply or X-Mart and mail them home.  You don't have to carry exposed film or mail bulky prints.  That allows you to erase the camera's storage card and start over fresh.

3. The number of shots you can take on a reasonable size storage card with a moderate megapixel camera way exceeds any roll of film.  Two cards, to provide a backup, are far smaller and lighter any even one roll of film and have a huge advantage in capacity.

4. Battery life for a digital camera is not as good as a film camera but if your camera uses AA batteries, their life is adequate and replacements are cheap and available nearly everywhere.  

I certainly agree that any good quality film camera with ISO 100 film is capable of resolution far exceeding all but the most expensive professional level digital camera.  So what?  Unless you plan on wall-size enlargements the benefit is moot.

Gear Talk / Aero Bars
« on: May 25, 2005, 03:41:11 am »
My flat bar is a riser bar (not sure what the technical  term is)and it curves up a bit on either side of the stem.  Is this going to stop me all together from  mounting aero bars?

It shouldn't.  The Century bars (and several others, I believe) mount almost flush up against the stem so you only need an inch or so of straight bar on each side of the stem.  I expect your bars are "flat" for at least that distance.


Gear Talk / Aero Bars
« on: May 20, 2005, 11:56:50 pm »
The cyclometer mount I made sounds like the same design as yours except I started with nominal 3/4" heavy wall PVC pipe (actual OD=.84" or almost 7/8") instead of wood.  I hollowed the ends with a half round file to match the curve of the extension bars and got a snug, non-rocking fit.  I then drilled through the each end of the pipe at 90° with a 1/4" drill bit so I could run a zip-tie through the holes and around the aero bar extension to keep it in place. It is sturdy and stable and may indeed be suitable for a headlight mount.  I've just never done it.  I see where the light beam can go if you mount the Century bars pointed upward slightly.  

Schedule 80 PVC pipe is extremely strong and will take any abuse wood will and then some.

The upshot of all of this is that you can adapt aero bars to mount whatever accessories you need.

My note about gusty winds was intended as an example  that there are some conditions that make the use of aerobars less desirable.  If you are on the bars and get hit by an unexpected side gust, it's going to bounce you around.  Just be aware.  

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

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