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Messages - DaveB

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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?

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 26, 2004, 12:32:45 pm »
Other than cost and weight, the Rohloff hub has two more disadvantages/problems:

1. The shifter is intended for straight bars and not suitable for drop bars.  I've heard of a couple of home made adapters to allow the use of drop bars but they were somewhat jury-rigged and required a fair bit of do-it-yourself construction.

2. The Rohloff hub requires horizontal dropouts to properly tension the chain, rather like a fixed gear or single speed setup.  If you get very lucky with your chainring/cog/chainstay length combination vertical dropouts can work but you can't be sure until you try it.  Rohloff does offer a chain tension device (sort of a stripped down rear derailleur) to allow vertical dropout use but that defeats some of the simplicity of the installation.

BTW, I just looked up the "Schlumpf speed drive" on Sheldon Brown's web site. My first thought was that it was one of his annual April 1 articles but apparently it's real.  What is also is is EXPENSIVE!  One of these plus the Rholoff hub totals over $1300.

The cost of a couple of chainrings and a derailleur or even a new crank is negligable in comparison.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 3-26-04 @ 2:46 PM

Gear Talk / Drivetrain Advice
« on: March 15, 2004, 12:37:20 am »
Not sure about Dura Ace but I'm pretty sure an Ultegra front derailleur will work fine with a 26-36-48 crankset.  My son had a Trek that came with an RSX crank with 26-36-46T chainrings and a 105 (same geometry as Ultegra) front derailleur.  It shifted fine with STI despite the small "big" ring.  

Also, I've modified a bunch of 8-speed and 9-speed Shimano road triple cranks from 30-42-52T to 26-42-52T and they also shift well with 105 or Ultegra front derailleurs even though the range exceeds Shimano's published recommendations.

The point of all of this is that the road front derailleurs are pretty tolerant of chainring sizes and total teeth. You should be fine.    

Gear Talk / Attracting investor to back glove invention
« on: February 28, 2004, 02:44:18 pm »
Have you considered licensing the design to one of the established cycling clothing makers?  If your design is as revolutionary as you say, Voler, Pearl Izumi, Cannondale, etc. may be interested in producing them on a royalty basis or buying the rights outright.

Another possibility is a bank loan, maybe a home equity loan, since interest rates are at historic lows now.  Keep in mind a private investor is going to want a big share of whatever profits you generate where as a loan just has to be repaid and the rest is your to keep.      

Gear Talk / Best touring bike buy
« on: February 22, 2004, 09:37:55 pm »
Haven't had a lot of responses have you?  

I don't know about the Giant OCR but the Trek 520 has been around forever and seems to have an excellent reputation.  It may not be the leading edge of technology but appears to have done the job well for a long time.

The Trek's gearing is poorly chosen but typical of major manufacturer's touring bikes.  A 30/42/52 crank coupled with an 11x32 cassette gives an absurdly high top gear (127 gear-inches!) and a moderately low low gear of 25 gear-inches.  Changing the crank for a more useful 24x36x46 or 22x34x44 MTB crank would be a worthwhile improvement and your dealer may be willing to do this at minimal cost.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-22-04 @ 5:43 PM

Gear Talk / Dependability of STI shifters?
« on: February 15, 2004, 06:42:53 pm »
Bar end shifters, except for a broken cable, just about cannot fail because they all offer a friction option. BTW, bar end front shifting is always friction. None I'm aware of offer indexing in front.

That said, I believe the worry about STI failure is more of an academic exercise than a real problem.  I had a pair of 105 8-speed shifters last over 28,000 miles and I replaced them because the shifting was getting sticky, not because of sudden failure.  Their replacements have 22,000 miles on them and still work perfectly.  My son-in-law got over 25,000 miles on 8-speed 105's and replaced them only because he wanted to upgrade to 9-speed.  My son has 15,000+ miles on a set of RSX levers (Shmano's lowest line STI)and they are still working fine.

Anyway, my point is STI shifters are quite durable and failure of another major component is at least as likely to strand you.  

I might consider bar end or downtube shifters if I was going to tour WAY off the beaten track but for anywhere in the US or Western Europe I would always have the convenience of STI.  

Gear Talk / Cannondale T2000 vs. Bruce Gordon BLT ???
« on: February 10, 2004, 02:58:13 pm »
I own bikes with both STI and bar-end shifters and my take is that STI is far better for convenience and ease of shifting. This is particularly evident if you are in unfamiliar territory where the next hill can be a surprise.  STI lets you shift either sitting or standing while bar-ends almost require shifting from a seated position.   They are both much more convenient than downtube shifters.

I just checked the Cannondale web site and the 2004 T2000 comes with a 48x38x28T crank and an 11x34 cassette. That gives a (ridiculously high) 118-inch top gear and a 22-inch low gear.  A cheap improvement would be substituting a 26T or 24T chainring for the 28T which would lower the bottom gear to either 20.6-inches or 19-inches.  These are awfully low gears and should get you over almost anything.  

Another useful improvement would substitute a 12x34T cassette giving a more useful 108" top gear and a better distribution of the remaining gears.

I don't know the costs but I suspect the Bruce Gordon is WAY more expensive than the Cannondale. Also, your Cannondale dealer may make the changes I mentioned at little or no cost when you purchase the bike.

This message was edited by DaveB on 2-10-04 @ 12:30 PM

Gear Talk / solar battery chargers
« on: January 24, 2004, 11:24:16 pm »
I can see two problems with solar powered chargers:

1. Does it make enough wattage to recharge the batteries you will use everyday?  If is does, is it too large to be managable?  A battery powered stove has got to require a LOT of battery capacity.

2. How reliable is the "solar" you will need?  If you are biking in the Southwest desert in the summer, no problem.  If you are biking in the New England or the Northwest you can go days with no direct sun.  Then waddaya gonna do?  

Gear Talk / Shoes!?!?!?!
« on: January 16, 2004, 12:25:47 am »
I have road ridden with Speedplay Frogs for over 60,000 miles so I believe I can speak with some authority. I love 'em. :) They are easy to enter and release, never release inadvertently and have the float you've learned to love in the X-series. They are also lighter than nearly any other road or MTB pedal.

The old-style Frog cleats require a small amount of surgery on the cleat pocket to fit most MBT shoes. (A Dremel tool with a sanding drum is ideal for this.)  The new design is narrower and should fit nearly anything with no modifications. In fact Speedplay says the new design can be used with road shoes, but they obviously won't be walkable that way.

My favorite shoe is the Shimano SH-T090 (the current version is SH-T092)which lists at around $90. They are styled like a road shoe and have a flat, but quite stiff, rubber sole with a recessed cleat pocket.  They aren't as "clunky" looking as fully lugged MBT shoes but are very walkable and keep the cleat off the road and floors.

I also like Performance's house brand MBT shoes and these will take the old style Frog cleats with no cutting.  They happen to fit my feet well and are less expensive than the Shimanos if you catch them on sale.  However the sole is "real" MBT.  

The only downside to MBT shoes is that they are slightly heavier than their road going counterparts.  This isn't a big issue for touring or non-racing use.

This message was edited by DaveB on 1-15-04 @ 8:27 PM

Gear Talk / tires
« on: January 31, 2004, 06:30:38 pm »
Two Comments/Questions:

1. Why the insistance on * when you spell pass?  Are you that worried about sounding "obscene"?

2.  Doesn't this posting belong in the "Classified" section?  It's obviously an ad for your book.

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