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Messages - DaveB

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1246
General Discussion / Steel versus Ti
« on: December 08, 2005, 09:31:18 pm »
Quote
My frame broke in the middle of Kentucky... but the local garage's mechanic, Cooter I believe his name was, simply welded it back together for me and away I went.  Try doing that with Ti. I bring this up just cause someone said earlier this kinda thing was a myth.  It's really not.

I never said it was a myth, I said it was a rarity. Also, how did "Cooter" do at welding thin wall Cr-Mo and how well did he maintain your frame's alignment?  The bike got you through but I'd be very surprised if it was a good repair.  BTW, any well-equipped welding shop can also properly weld Ti.  


1247
General Discussion / Steel versus Ti
« on: November 22, 2005, 10:09:01 pm »
 ...while a fully loaded Ti  bike would become a noodle under full load.  (Someone, please jump in here if I have this wrong!)...

OK, you're wrong.  A Ti frame can be designed to be as stiff as a railroad track if you wish.  Hey, they make tandems out of Ti and nothing is as "under a full load" as a tandem.  

As I said above, a frame can be built for your needs out of any material. Pick a suitable maker and a suitable frame design and the material becomes (wait for it) immaterial.

As a starting point, Moots and Litespeed both make Ti frames suitable for both light and fully loaded touring and there are many others.  

As to comfort under light or heavy loads, as long as the geometry is suitable, frame stiffness is way over rated as a source.  Use larger tires and run moderate pressures if you want comfort.  


1248
General Discussion / Steel versus Ti
« on: October 09, 2005, 12:25:34 pm »
OK, now that my diatribe on historical perspective is over, let's see if I can give you some ideas on the steel vs Ti question.

Cost: Steel is the clear winner here both for stock and custom frames.  However, the frame isn't the only cost for a bike.  Even if a Ti frame costs 2X an equal quality steel frame, the complete bike would probably cost less than 1.5X.

Availability: There aren't very many stock steel frames available these days as the volume sales have gone to Al and Carbon.  A quality steel frame is almost certainly a custom proposition.  Ti frames are available both stock and custom.

Fatigue Life:  No winner here.  Properly designed and constructed both steel and Ti have nearly infinite lifetimes unless you crash.

Repairability:  The myth is than anybody with a torch can repair a steel frame.  This may be important if you are riding in remote parts of the Third World but a non-issue in the US, Canada and most of Europe.  If you have a good frame, you will want it worked on by experts and both steel and Ti can be repaired by those who know what they are doing. Besides, breakage of quality frames is extremely rare.

Weight:  For a given size and stiffness, a Ti frame will be lighter.  There are exotic thin wall steel tubesets available that approach the weight of a Ti frame but Ti still wins.

Ride Quality;  There is a huge amount of myth and misinformation about the effect of material choice on ride quality.  "Steel is real" (what ever that means.)  Ti has a "plush ride".  "Carbon is dead feeling."  "Al is harsh riding". The truth is you can have any stiffness and responsiveness you want by choosing the right design parameters and working with the builder. Design completely trumps material choice.  If comfort is a big issue, fit larger tires and run lower pressure.

Frame Maintenance: Ti is the clear winner here. Steel must be painted and the paint must be maintained and chips repaired to prevent surface rust. Inside "undercoating" of the tubes is also necessary to stop interior rusting from water incursion. Ti is impervious to almost everything.  Water, sweat, salt, spilled drinks, etc.  Nothing hurts it and there is no paint to chip so you can lean the bike against any convenient prop with no worries about damage.

My choice?  Ti unless initial cost is the overriding concern but you can't go wrong with either material from a good builder.    




1249
General Discussion / Steel versus Ti
« on: October 08, 2005, 07:55:57 pm »
First, rid your self of the notion this is your "last bike".  The technology changes too much and too fast to ever assume that.  

Think of a guy who bought his "last bike" in 1980.  By now, three materials (Al, Ti and Carbon) that were pretty much laboratory curiosities then are common and  a current frame and fork weigh half of what their 1980 counterparts did.  Also, dropout spacing has changed twice, rear clusters have gone from 5-speed freewheels to 10-speed freehubs, shifting technology has gone through several generations and head tube, fork steerers, headsets and stems have all undergone major design changes.  

Yes, some of the modern improvements can be added to an older frame but most can't.  You don't know what the future will bring so don't plan on being wedded to the past.

Finally, the cost of a bike, even a relatively exotic one, isn't such a big deal.  Your new bike will probably cost less than the down payment on a typical family car and will do you much more good both economically and healthwise.  


1250
General Discussion / energy gels
« on: October 16, 2005, 11:15:10 am »
Candy and granola bars are cheaper, taste much better, are less messy and do just as much good as "energy gels". As emergency rations they do just fine.  

On a tour you are free to stop and eat whenever you wish since no one is timing you and getting to your destination first isn't an issue as it is with racers.  Save your money and eat food you enjoy.


1251
General Discussion / gap year touring
« on: September 10, 2005, 09:15:32 am »
For the benefit of your American readers, what is a "gap year"?


1252
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: October 05, 2006, 10:06:12 pm »
Returning briefly to the Xtracycle discussion a few postings ago.  Sheldon Brown's write-up from the Las Vegas Interbike show had a paragraph about them as seen at the Surly display.  I think it's interesting.

The big deal this year was their dedicated Xtracycle frame. This is a long-wheelbase frame designed to act as an Xtracycle, using all of the Xtracycle rack attachments, but on a purpose-built frame. It is reputedly lighter and stiffer than an Xtracycle attachment on a standard mountain bike frame. This item is currently in the prototype stage, but was well received, and should be a fairly popular item. The biggest issue with it is shipping, because there is now way it is UPS-able due to its length.




1253
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: October 03, 2006, 05:08:53 pm »
Quote
sorry Dave B...its what OmahaNeb said, sorry for the misquote all.  Mark of the Dalton Boys


No problem.  Actually it's a pretty good comment and I wish I'd thought to say it. :)




1254
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: October 01, 2006, 12:04:50 pm »
I would also recommend looking at getting an Xtracycle add-on for your bike. I just ordered mine, so don't have any direct experience yet (but will add to the forum once I get some miles with it)... but from everything I have read, including NOT ONE single bad review, they are amazing and 100 times better than using a trailer.

I looked at the web site you referenced and would have serious reservations about either product. Other than the manufacturer's site, where did you read the favorable reviews?  Any place that's really independent?

The "Xtracycle" seems to be a tandem with the stoker's seat and bars deleted and the space used for cargo.  It's got to be very heavy and awkward.

The add-on "FreeRadical" seems both heavy and awkward and, more important, looks like a broken frame looking for a place to happen. It will cantilever the load and rear wheel way out beyond the original wheelbase and the stress on the frame will be greatly magnified.  

I'll be very interested in your experience once you get some miles and time on yours.   I'll also have to trust that you have no interest in this company other than as a customer.

This message was edited by DaveB on 10-1-06 @ 8:05 AM

1255
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: September 05, 2005, 05:26:41 pm »
Incidentally, what do you do when you're out and it starts raining?

Get wet. :)

All kidding aside, there is little you can do to really stay dry.  Completely waterproof riding jackets and rain pants are available but waterproof works both ways.  Rain can't get in but sweat can't get out either. You wind up wet one way or the other.

A wind jacket can keep the rain from stinging and make you more comfortable.  A riding hat under your helmet will keep the rain from beating on your head through the vents and the brim will keep the direct rain off your face.  

As I said, you will get wet in heavy rain so learn to expect it.

One useful addition to any bike used in the rain is close fitting fenders.  These will do wonders for keeping your shoes and legs dryer (dryer, not dry) and will greatly reduce the grime and mud splashed on them.    

As to thunderstorms, find a safe place to hide but not under a tree!  There is no protection against lightening and you just have to wait it out.

This message was edited by DaveB on 9-5-05 @ 6:39 PM

1256
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: September 03, 2005, 10:00:51 pm »
Floriduh is also relatively flat, so I have to find a way to train for the areas of the country with higher elevations.

"Relatively flat"?  How about DEAD LEVEL! :)  I've ridden in the Orlando and Gainesville areas quite a bit and there is no place much flatter.  

The only hill in the state I know of worth mentioning is Sugarloaf Mountain Road (a bit of an overstatement) near Mt. Dora.  It's better than nothing so if you are anywhere nearby try it as a training ride.

What you should be used to is wind.  With nothing to break it up, the wind can be relentless.    



1257
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: September 03, 2005, 10:22:55 am »
You have one major advantage over a lot of ambitious but unschooled newbies.  You realize that "you don't know what you don't know" and seem willing to work to change that.  I think your probability of getting ready for and having a successful trip are quite high.  This is going to require some real effort so don't get discouraged.

A couple of more points:

Part of learning to ride in traffic is to look for roads with less of it.  There are times when major roads are unavoidable but there are often secondary roads that are a lot more fun to ride. Try to find them.  Unless you live in mid-town Manhattan, there should be some around you.  

Consider joining your local bike club. Many of them have scouted out pleasant, low traffic local routes and have both maps and cue sheets available.  Also, group riding will improve your skills and let you learn from more experienced riders. Most clubs have a spectrum of rides differing in length and expected speed so you don't have to worry about trying to keep up with the racers.  There may also be members who have toured extensively and can give you pointers about what worked and didn't for them.




1258
General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: September 02, 2005, 07:14:56 pm »
OmahaNeb's advice is very good.  The more you know about repairing your bike, the better off you will be and the better your peace of mind.  This is not a small matter. At the absolute minimum, learn how to change a flat tire.  You WILL need that skill sooner or later.  Most likely sooner and in unfavorable conditions like rain and fading daylight.  Get good at it.    

Many bike shops or bike clubs have bike repair classes and seminars.  Attend one.  Also, get a good repair manual and read it thoroughly.  Bicycling Magazine publishes a pretty decent one and Park Tools web site (www.parktools.com) is a treasure trove of repair advice.

Get several books on bike touring and study them.  Learn from other people's experience but get enough opinions to develop your own.  

Ride, ride, ride.  A major tour is NOT the time or place to get in shape.  Also, learn to ride in traffic.  Your recent surprises with potholes and traffic speed are old hat to anyone who rides frequently.  

BTW, do you drive a car?  Why were you surprised that drivers don't religiously obey speed limits?  


1259
General Discussion / Highway Law
« on: August 30, 2005, 07:53:46 pm »
All states prohibit vehicles with less that a 50 cc engine from most Expressways. These are clearly marked at the expressway entrance.

This operative word here is "most".  Some Western states allow bicycles and pedestrians to use the shoulders of "Expressways" (i.e. Interstate Highways) when there is no practical alternate road.  This will be on a case-by-case basis and you will have to find out where they are.  I expect each state's DOT will be able to tell you which Interstates are open to bikes and where.  

If the expressway entrance ramp has a "Motorized Vehicles Only" or similar sign, obviously that road, or that section of road is off-limits to bicycles.




1260
General Discussion / Highway Law
« on: August 27, 2005, 06:11:02 pm »
Each state has a "Department of Transportation" web site that should have a link to it's vehicle code and particularly its bicycle laws.  It may be laborious as you will probably have to go to each state's web site that you plan to travel through to see what its laws are.
 
BTW, each state has a tourism web site and many have a specific bicycle travel link.  Those are worth looking up too.  As you will discover, this is a BIG place. :)



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