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Messages - DaveB

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Gear Talk / converting litespeed firenza to touring bike
« on: October 10, 2006, 11:35:43 am »
I also had custom wheels made with Ultegra hubs and Sunrims Rhyno Lite rims so I could comfortably use Continental Top Touring 37's. The Mavic Open rims that came on the bike weren't really suitable for any tire over 28mm.

The wider rims and tires will probably fit a touring/cross fork if the OP refits one to his bike but they won't fit the rear on a Firenza frame. The seat tube and brake bridge won't clear them.  Your Blue Ridge was designed for touring and the Firenza wasn't.

By the time the Firenza is cobbled into a sort-of touring bike, the cost will approach buying the real thing from scratch and it will still be a compromise.  

The better way to use the Firenza would be to tow the BoB trailer packed with everything and forget the use of paniers.

This message was edited by DaveB on 10-10-06 @ 7:35 AM

Gear Talk / cables
« on: September 19, 2006, 08:09:37 pm »
In 110,000 miles of riding I have never broken a cable of any type. I do change them about once a year (~7000 mile intervals) and use good quality cables.

Gear Talk / Advice on bike options?
« on: July 15, 2006, 11:49:53 am »
Depending on exactly when in the '70's your Raleigh was made, it is likely to have Raleigh's proprietary threading for the bottom bracket and headset.  The bottom bracket will have "English" dimensions for everything except thread pitch (26 tpi instead of 24 for English threading).  That is a deal breaker for fitting any new cartridge bottom bracket, particularly if you want to use a Shimano Octalink or an ISIS crank.  

Sheldon Brown has a good article about these older Raleighs and what to do with them:  Look here:

I expect by the time you get the Raleigh set up suitably for your needs, the cost will exceed buyin a suitable bike outright.  One possibility is too look for a good used Trek 520 or Cannondale T-series bike.

« on: July 10, 2006, 11:36:15 am »
As a low-cost expedient you can change just the 30T granny ring for a 26T.  I've done this on many 7,8 and 9-speed Shimano road cranks and it works very well.  That change combined with a suitable cassette should give you a very low low gear at small cost.

Gear Talk / Chains
« on: June 27, 2006, 08:09:02 am »
I had 1700 miles on a Shimano Ultegra chain and the LBS mech said they are only good for like 700 miles.

Find a different mechanic, yours is ripping you off.  Either that or you ride in horribly abrasive conditions.

I've used many Ultegra level (and below) chains, in both 8 and 9-speed form, for over 7000 miles each with only 1/16" "stretch" and never any failures and I ride in very hilly conditions so the chains aren't treated kindly.  Something is wrong here.

Gear Talk / Repair Kit
« on: June 15, 2006, 08:32:10 pm »
I suggest taking a Park's MT-1 "dog bone" multi-tool tool.  It has 3,4,5,6 and 8 mm allen keys, a small flat screwdriver blade (which fits derailleur limit screws) and 8,9 and 10 mm box wrenches.  It weighs only about 50 gms, costs less than $10 and the shape allows a lot of torque on all of the larger hex keys.  Why it isn't wildly popular is beyond me.  

The MT-1 with a very small chain tool like the Ritchey CT-5 (use the MT-1 as the screw press handle) is as versatile as multi-tools costing 3 or 4 times as much and weighing much more.

Gear Talk / Straight handlebars
« on: June 08, 2006, 08:43:14 pm »
Can you try the moustache bars before committing to them?  Some riders love them but they certainly are not for everyone.  Grant Peterson tries to make it sound like they are magic but there is a reason they disappeared from general use.  

Gear Talk / Straight handlebars
« on: June 01, 2006, 04:10:09 pm »
I've been told the benefits of drop bars, and because of that, I plan on giving them a shot, but to automatically put people into a category of being goobers who don't know any better is wrong.  If I try the drop bars and still decide that I like the flat bars better, that's what I will use when I tour.  It doesn't make me any less of a cyclist.

I don't think Russell or I had any intent of putting you in the "goober" catagory or making you out to be less of a rider.   We just said many riders have no experience with drop bars so they dismiss them as a racing affectation.  

You definitely have no experience with them, as you freely admit, but already say you don't like several features.  I suggest you give them a real test before judging.  I expect your "don't-likes" will turn into "really-likes" after a fair test period.

I've ridden drop bars and flat bars and, IN MY EXPERIENCE, drop bars are far more comfortable for long distances.  

BTW, one warning, don't set your drop bars up with a big drop from the seat to the bars. You are a tourist, not a racer, and if you try to emulate the very low racer position you are almost sure to conclude you don't like them.  Put them at a comfortable level and give them a fair try.

Of course, after that it's certainly your choice what you prefer.  


Gear Talk / Straight handlebars
« on: June 01, 2006, 11:42:26 am »
It could be personal preference or they don't know any better. I would never ride a long distance with flat bars but some riders like them.

Gear Talk / Where to get new wheels
« on: May 29, 2006, 11:58:18 am »
You don't need higher spoke count wheels, you need wheels built with the proper spoke tension to begin with.  If you've broken four rear spokes in that time, the stock wheels were under tensioned as built and more spokes won't help.

I'm about 150 pounds and also carry light loads occasionally and have gotten 30,000+ miles on several 32 spoke rear wheels with no spoke breakage ever. My wheels eventually fail because the rims get worn through the brake tracks but the spokes are all fine.

I suggest Colorado Cyclist as a source for good, well built properly tensioned wheels. Both I and my son-in-law have had excellent service from their wheels.

Gear Talk / Briton needing buy in States - Help!
« on: May 21, 2006, 10:45:39 pm »
Maybe I'm missing something but what is eco-unfriendly about bringing your own bike?

Gear Talk / Automatic Land Bike??-- Comments
« on: May 12, 2006, 07:39:39 pm »
The bike is absolute junk.  It makes K-Mart and Wal-Mart bikes look good.  There is NO useable or reliable automatic shifting mechanism for bikes currently available and if there were, it wouldn't be advertised by an "infomercial"  Avoid!!!!

Your first two references, the Trek 520 and the REI Randonnee, are good bikes, very suitable for what you have in mind. The auto bike is a scam.

Gear Talk / Another yes no question
« on: May 12, 2006, 07:35:36 pm »
Be easier to answer if you clarified the question.  Aero bars for what use?

Loaded touring?
Light touring?
Credit card touring?
Mountains and hills forever?
Flat as a lake but windy?

Thus, the answer is yes and no depending on what the question really is.

Gear Talk / Best Functional Helmet
« on: June 08, 2006, 12:42:01 pm »
Wanderingwheel negated your argument that hockey helmets are designed as one-shot deals like bike helmets so that's done.

Climbing helmets aren't designed to save you in a fall, they are designed to keep falling rocks and other debris from beaning you.  They are more like industrial hardhats than crash helmets.

Gear Talk / Best Functional Helmet
« on: May 27, 2006, 04:51:50 pm »
But what about the cyclist who wants a better helmet?  What about the manufacturer that would prefer putting the $180 of "value added" into better engineering and better materials

What kind of "value added" features do you want? You give no specifics.  There are lots of expensive helmets with better graphics, better ventilation, more sophisticated suspensions, etc. but other than style and possibly a small increase in comfort what value do they bring?    

As to exceeding the CPSC safety standards, if a manufacturer found materials that would provide better protection without a major weight gain they would certainly do it as it would be a major sales advantage. Bike helmets have significantly improved in impact protection and reduced weight over the years so there must be an incentive to do so over and above legislative coercion.  

The threat of lawsuits from providing "too much safety" is a red herring.  Ever read the disclaimers in any helmet of any type sold for any purpose? They all say this helmet cannot protect you from all possible hazards.  That's their legal defense and I haven't heard of anyone successfully suing Bell.  

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