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Messages - DaveB

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General Discussion / Re: no progress with Amtrak for GAP / C&O
« on: April 11, 2014, 07:26:08 am »
Passenger rail service in this country, with the possible exceptions of the Northeast corridor (say Norfolk VA to Portland ME) and the Pacific coast from San Francisco to San Diego, has too low a population density and too much space between major cities to be economically feasible.  Air travel meets the needs for long hauls and the private car for shorter ones.  Amtrak is fighting an uphill, against the wind battle and until they are adequately subsidized they will never be more than a marginal player.

Yes, the Europeans so a fabulous job at providing reliable and frequent rail service but their short distances and high population density make it attractive. Even at that, most of their passenger service is subsidized.

Gear Talk / Re: (Cyclo)cross-country
« on: April 10, 2014, 06:21:31 am »
The only thing in your list I feel at all strongly about is the pedals and shoes.  Stick with MTB shoes.  Get some with stiffer soles and you'll never notice the difference while riding.  You'll want to walk without acting like a duck and/or sliding.
+100  You will be on and off the bike a fair bit while touring and having shoes and cleats you can walk in will be a huge benefit.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice on a Bicycle for Trip to France
« on: April 09, 2014, 05:37:54 am »
You might be able to find a Trucker Deluxe frame in your size.  That'll pack into a suitcase, saving $300 over a full size bike, but you have to build it up (or have it built up) with parts you buy.  Depending on your size, you may have to disassemble it even further than the full-size option to pack it.

If it were me, I'd take the BF you have and put up with the trailer.  You're going to find that any bike carrying luggage seems slow compared to an unloaded bike.  Better the devil you know, IMHO.
I've owned and traveled with a bike with S&S couplers and they are not for the mechanically feint of ability.  Disassembly, packing and reassembly are fairly time consuming and detailed.  Also, the travel case is not even a trailer so you have to store it somewhere while you tour. 

So unless you ship the bike in a disposable cardboard box (and find a replacement for the return trip) you are going to have to store some type of shipping container somewhere or tow it along like the Bike Friday's.   

Given that, if you are flying into and out of the same airport, you could arrange to store the shipping box at the hotel you use the first and last night or rent a locker at the Airport for the tour period. 

As to which Touring model bike is the "sportiest", they are pretty much all the same and none of them are "racing" bikes.  However, by removing the racks and fenders, fitting thinner high pressure tires, and perhaps, a tighter geared cassette any of them will make a satisfactory road bike. 

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 05, 2014, 09:29:16 am »
All of this is true and in theory all of these design elements should be met but it's more theory than necessity.  Are bicycle wheels collapsing left and right?  Is failure a daily occurrence?  Obviously a bridge failure can have extremely serious consequences but a broken spoke is more nuisance than disaster so the safety factors don't have to be nearly as high.  As to strength and durability, 32H 3X lacing with standard spokes have proven to give a very durable and solid wheel and more complex spoke patterns add complexity to no useful improvement

As to Campy hubs, Campy does not design for touring or MTB or any other high stress use so complaining that their hubs aren't strong enough for touring is not germane.   It's like complaining that your Miata won't hold a family of four and two weeks luggage.

Gear Talk / Re: solo bike security
« on: April 05, 2014, 06:17:06 am »
About 5' of 3/16" plastic coated wire cable with an eyelet in each end and a small combination lock (so you can't lose the key) will provide adequate security against casual theft and is both light and compact.  Run it through both wheels and the frame and around something like a tree or light pole or parking meter to secure the bike.  It won't stop the dedicated thief but, if you keep you bike in sight, it will be adequate.

If you tie the bike to a parking meter run a complete turn of the cable around the shaft so the thief can't lift the bike over the top.

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 05, 2014, 06:04:56 am »
I suspect it's more a case of finite element analysis being employed to support marketing-driven "artistic" designs, which just happen to require proprietary rather than standard parts.  This is great for the manufacturers (don't you want to buy a new wheel?), but are difficult to repair when you break something on the road during a tour.
Any cycling tourist who uses boutique designer wheels on their tour bike deserves whatever problems they run into.  As you noted, these use special spokes and other parts and most LBSs can't repair them with in-stock parts.  Standard hubs, spokes and rims in reasonable spoke count and cross patterns are the only sensible choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:47:48 pm »
You are certain to bust a flange with radial spoking.  My wheel idea works best with 36 spokes. A 32 spoke wheel could be built with 3 cross left and 2 cross right however 2 cross will be more likely to break the flange. A 40 hole wheel could also be built with 4 cross left and 3 cross right or a 48 spoke wheel with 5 cross left and 4 cross right with no problems. If you are worried about flange breaking use a large flange hub.
Very interesting.  Then all of the great number of radial spoked wheels built both individually and commercially are doomed to hub failure?  Yes, years ago both Campy and Shimano refused to warranty their hubs if laced radially but that's way in the past and both companies sell wheels with radial lacing and have removed that warning from their hubs. Your information is way out of date.

Further, as RussSeaton noted, large flange hubs do not tolerate radial or low cross lacing any better than small flange hubs. 

Gear Talk / Re: Rear Rack with Salsa Alternator Dropouts
« on: April 03, 2014, 02:34:36 pm »
I looked at Salsa's web site and read the instructions for these dropouts.  It seems to me is that they are a very complex way to work around providing horizontal dropouts.  They maintain vertical dropouts but allow the horizontal movement needed to obtain proper chain adjustment for IGH and single speed use. 

To get that adjustability, you give up a lot of simplicity and the ability to use off-the-shelf racks and, I presume, fenders.

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 03, 2014, 06:09:38 am »
First, four cross is usually used for higher spoke count wheels, and two cross for lower spoke count wheels.  The idea, as I understand it, is to get the spokes coming off the hub at roughly a right angle to the radius through the center of the hub.  Are you advocating going to a 48 spoke wheel?  If you're using 4x with 36 spoke wheels, are you coming off the hub at an acute angle?
A 36 hole rim and hub laced 4X will produce a tangential spoke line and is the smallest number of holes that will allow 4X lacing

Second, the ping you note as a new wheel is ridden is caused by windup of the spoke during tensioning and truing.  This is normally fixed (by a skilled wheelbuilder) by over-correcting and then backing off during final truing.  I don't see this as something that can be corrected by changing the length and angle of a spoke.
Correct.  "Pinging" is prevented by proper stress relieving of the spoke line, lubing the spoke threads and preventing or correcting spoke wind-up during tensioning.  The wheel's construction geometry is not a factor.

Third, the wheel is centered by balancing the tension of the right and left side spokes.  If you're using the same number of spokes on each side, as is the case for every wheel I know of on the market now, you can lengthen or shorten the spokes on the left (non-drive) side, but the tension will have to stay the same unless you pull the rim off-center.  With the same tension on the spokes, keeping the wheel centered, the only change is going to be frictional losses as the (almost) unloaded spoke shifts.  This is unlikely to be significant, and so I doubt you'll change the load the wheel can take before a spoke goes to zero tension.

A better approach might be to replace box rims with a stiffer (V) rim.  The V rim adds some structural rigidity, meaning you share the load across more spokes.  This, in turn, means you can carry a larger load on the V wheel without the spoke losing tension.
As noted by mathieu there are asymmetrically spoked wheels these days but how much is structural and how much is a fashion statement is debatable.  One way to balance the required tension differences with a dished wheel is to use thinner spokes on the non-drive side.  Say 2.0/1.8/2.0 on the drive side and 2.0/1.6/2.0 on the non-drive side.

I agree that a deeper section, more rigid rim is also a benefit in reducing the stress load cycling as a wheel is loaded and unloaded.   

Gear Talk / Re: Thinking about another tour but need a new groupset
« on: March 31, 2014, 04:13:06 pm »
Most touring bikes have MTB or friction shifters so that they can use MTB derailleurs.
I don't think this is correct any longer as most of the touring bikes I see advertised have brifters.  They can use MTB 9-speed rear derailleurs with 9 or 10-speed cassettes and brifters and have to use a road front derailleur.  The touring bikes with barend shifters have a more latitude with their front derailleur choice but the same rear derailleur limitation.

Gear Talk / Re: Thinking about another tour but need a new groupset
« on: March 31, 2014, 05:52:17 am »
Does your bike have drop bars or flat bars?  If it has flat bars, you can pick nearly any MTB group.  If it has drop bars all MTB front derailleurs and newer 10-speed MTB rear derailleurs won't work with road indexed shifters/brifters.  Let me know what you now have and perhaps a better recommendation can be made. 

Gear Talk / Re: Disc Trucker + Schwalbe Marathon Deluxe.. rim?
« on: March 31, 2014, 05:43:49 am »
The difference in actual tire size between 700-37 and 700-38 will be minimal and may be absolutely nothing depending on how truthful the published sizes really are.   The 700-35 is also going to be very close in installed size to the others.  You are agonizing over trivial differences. 

The stock rims will certainly handle any of these tires and, in general rims are very tolerant of a range of tire sizes.  Cyclocross riders routinely  fit 700-30 and even larger tires to narrow road rims.

I'll second Pat Lamb's recommendation to wear out the original tires first before "upgrading" to the Schwalbes.  Why spend the money when you have a very suitable set of tires now? 

General Discussion / Re: First Bike Tour
« on: March 30, 2014, 09:37:29 am »
Sure, as I said, bad things can happen even to a well maintained bike but I was responding to Jambi's statement that; "you will have to put a lot of maintenance along the way".  Its not by any means a certainty if you do your homework first and start with decent equipment.

General Discussion / Re: First Bike Tour
« on: March 30, 2014, 06:34:19 am »
Knowing his to fix your bike is really important as well. Simple stuff like replacing links in a chain can really make a difference and you will have to put a lot of maintenance along the way. My first tour was when I was 19 (San Francisco. - DC). And I knew little about repairing my bike. I had some uncertain times with my bike and was my biggest regret.
A good quality bike in well maintained condition should not require a lot of maintenance even over a 4000 mile tour.  Chain lubing and tire pressure should be the only routine items with wearing out or damaging a tire as a possibility.  If you start with the components in good shape cables, shifters, brake pads, chains, wheels, etc. should last the duration of the trip with no problems.  The operative term is "good quality" and X-Mart level bikes don't qualify.

However, that's not to say bad things can't happen even to good bikes so knowing how to do your own repairs and having a few essential tools (Allen wrenches, chain tool, tire levers, etc.) and spare parts (shift and brake cable, brake pads, tubes, chain master link or joining pins) should be considered essential as is the ability to use them.   

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar bag alternative
« on: March 29, 2014, 10:25:47 am »
As mentioned by staehpj1, a small to medium fanny pack is a good place to carry things you want easy access to and things you don't want to get separated from like your wallet and phone.   I use one on my rack-less road bike to carry a jacket and other bad weather bail-out items.

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