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Messages - paddleboy17

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1
Gear Talk / Re: Touring capable road bike
« on: June 24, 2020, 12:17:31 pm »
You guys are all going about this wrong.  Rotating weight -- big deal, static weight -- not nearly as big a deal as people make it.

Let me give you some benchmarks:

Carbon Frame - ~2 pounds
Aluminum Frame - ~2.5 pounds
Ti Frame - ~3 pounds
Steel Frame - ~4 pounds

So spending a butt load of money to go from a steel touring bike to a carbon touring bike just to save 2 pounds (everything else being the same) is nonsense.

Now before you flame me and my immediate family, lets talk about some other things.

There are components and architecture (not sure this is the best term), and as someone else said, what kind of riding are you really going to do.

I have a classic steel touring, and the frame weighs 4.5 pounds.  She is designed to be ridden from the Canadian Arctic Circle to the tip of to Tierra del Fuego and back, and I can even ride from my home outside Detroit to the starting point too.  Everything about the bike is beefy (and heavy).  What makes here sluggish to ride are the indestructible rims and Schwalbe Marathon tires.  I have never weighed the bike but I put her in around 30 pounds.  And I typically tour with a 60 pound kit (some groceries and a nice kitchen).

I also have a carbon fiber gravel bike, and I think she weighs about 23 pounds.  I did a bike packing trip last spring, and bike and kit came in at 56 pounds.  Handling was superb, and you would never know it was loaded with a kit.  The kit was very spartan.  If temps got below freezing, I was screwed.  I had enough clothing for 3 days, and I used everything except an extra pair of socks.  I should have used the socks, but on day 2 it was too cold to change them.  I carried no food or cookware, and don't know where I would have put them if I had to carry them.

So please sort out what your needs are, and don't be surprised if that turns into multiple bikes (I have 6 bikes).  This is a lot more complicated that steel versus aluminum.  Be advised that there are a lot of ill conceived bicycles available for purchase.

2
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:31:40 pm »
I have to confess that I do not know very much about Merlins.  $1100 sounds really good--sure it is not just for a frame?

As for your old Trek 1100, I think there is an element of what condition it is in.  We have already established that there is nothing wrong with a bonded, aluminum frame.  I think those came with Shimano R-X 100, which was not a bad group.  My Paramount came with 7 speed R-X 100, and other than the down tube shifters, it was OK to ride.  I am 62 and even if I wanted to deal with down tube shifters, I don't feel flexible enough to want to deal with them.  When 8 speed came along, frames were suddenly 4 mm wider at the rear drop outs.  That extra chain ring went at the high end. Since then, all that has transpired is to make the spacers between gears thinner, and to provide more resolution between the highest and lowest gear.  In my mind, the only real revolution has been in 1X drivetrains, with rear derailleurs that can span a 42 tooth ring instead of a 32 tooth ring.   So if you like riding the 1100, and it is in good shape, then you may not have to do too much to it.  I would upgrade the shifters.  I have had good luck with Microshift's shifters.  This is a Taiwanese company, and my experience has been limited to their 11 and 10 speed shifters, but they do make barcon, brifter, and thumbie style shifters, and they have all broad 7 speed shifter product line.  New 7 speed Microshift shifters are around $100.

For any used bike that you look at, you will need to decide how expensive it will be to replace parts that are either worn our or just not what you want.  I am pretty handy, and I have made some upgrades that might otherwise have made sense, especially if I had my LBS  do the work.  Truing wheels and building wheels I farm out, but I am up for almost anything else.  If you need the LBS to do all that, then you might as well just buy a new bike.

My Paramount is the same vintage as your Trek 1100, and around 2000, I replaced most of the 7 speed R-X 100 parts with 9 speed Ultegra parts, and a new 9 speed wheel set based on Durace hubs.  I think I spent $1000 in upgrades, and it only made sense because I really like riding the bike.  I was also single (again) in those days, and did not have to report my spending to a higher authority.  My steel frame has enough flex that I could wedge in new 130mm wide wheels in my 126mm rear drop outs.  Your Trek might not be so forgiving, but you could borrow a wheel set and see how it works out.  A few years back the lube in the Ultegra shifters dried out (brifters have that problem),  and I replaced the brifters with ones from Microshift.  The Microshift brifters were way better than the Ultegra shifters.  My local roads are not what they used to be, and I just don't have the roads to make the Paramount my only road bike.  She is still a delightful ride, when I can find good blacktop.

Since then I have taken a mid 90's steel mountain bike and turned it into a 2X10 gravel bike complete with drop handle bars. I think that was a $300 conversion, with new stem, drop bars, barcon shifters,  crank,  and brake levers.  I maybe spent an additional $100 on chain, cassette,  and bar tape, but that come out of my maintenance budget and not my upgrade budget.  I may have had stems, bars, and brake levers in my spare parts bin.  The shifters came with a cable kit.

I live in SE Michigan, and I make a half hearted attempt to ride through the winter.  I have been using a mountain bike for winter riding, but I wanted to use the homemade gravel bike instead.  I updated the bike once again with a new stem, Jonesbar, thumb shifters, and new mountain bike style brake levers.  I went for the cheaper single butted aluminum Jonebar handle bars, and I think I had a total outlay of about $250 for new parts.  I have spare stems, just not one long enough.  I like the new setup better for winter riding. 

You can make a lot of upgrades with just a multi tool and a cable cutter in your tool box.

Back to your bike issue.  Keep the Straggler, and add a roadbike.  A buddy and I went back and forth of specs (he thought I was crazy for promoting shorter wheel base bikes).  We both agreed on 700C rims with tires in the 25mm to 32mm range.  Said bike should fit you, and be comfortable to ride.  A more relaxed geometry is going to be more comfortable.  Ride quality trumps most of your frame choices.  I know you are attracted to a titanium frame.  With the right alloys, a steel frame will be a pound and a half lighter, just as comfortable, and a lot cheaper.  If you are bound and determined to get a lighter frame anyways, then I would look at aluminum or carbon fiber.  Newer aluminum frames have these elastomer inserts to improve ride quality.  Carbon frames are just plain awesome as long as you don't crash them, and you regularly grease all the threaded inserts.

3
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 28, 2020, 10:50:40 pm »
When aluminum frames break, it is usually where tubes are joined (TIG welded).  So you are right about the frames lasting a finite number of duty cycles.

 I don't think the 1100 frame are TIG welded.  I think there is a really good chance it is a bonded (glued) frame.  Bonded aluminum frames are supposed to be pretty durable.

4
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 27, 2020, 09:31:57 am »
Aluminum frames are a complex issue.  The very first aluminum frames were not very stiff, and hence not very well received.  Since then, aluminum frames have been very stiff, and this brings up the problem of stress relief.  WW2 era steel liberty class cargo ships had a tendency to spontaneously crack in half as square cargo hatches did not distribute stress evenly.  There is a similar issue with 1950's Comet passenger jets--square windows caused tails to break off.  With aluminum bike frames, the issue is how the frames were joined.  Aluminum frames sometimes crack at the welds.  I am good friends with our field failure engineer and he thinks aluminum is a great material for bike frames.  I  get the impression that a lot of progress has been made in using and joining aluminum.
 
i had a hard time finding specs on your 1100, but i will take a stab at it anyways. 

I think if you frame was going to crack, it would have done so by now.  Trek might have glued yours together in stead of TIG welding it.  The frame will be stiff, so it will depend on the tires to be a little soft in order to provide a good ride quality.  You can play with tires to get a balance between ride effort and ride quality.  The only thing bad I can find about the 1100 is the down tube shifters (something about the bracket being delicate).  So you could upgrade to bar end shifters or brifters.

Did you like riding the 1100?  Why did you get rid of it?

By the way, I think the support you wife has been giving you is wonderful.  You are a lucky man.

5
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 26, 2020, 03:36:37 pm »
Let's say that you get a titanium frame and move your stuff over.  You will get a net weight savings of a pound and a half, for a cost of say $3000.  Your new bike probably won't feel like an improvement over your Straggler.  I doubt you can perceive the difference of 1.5 pounds.  It is static weight.  Maybe if you were an elite athlete you could perceive a difference.  The legendary Georgena Terry says no one could perceive a 1.5 pound static weight difference while riding a bike.  She says you might notice other material properties.

It is a little different with body fat as your is probably around you middle, rotating constant partial turns about your spine.

If you want to take some burden out of riding you current bike, muck with the tires as previously discussed.

If you want to make climbing easier on your current bike, muck with the crank.

If you want to ride on the road, look at a new road bike, especially if you have $3000 dollars to throw at it.  Gravel bike are great all purpose bikes.  I love mine, and it almost as fast as my criterium bike, but my steel 30 year old Paramount road bike weighs less and is faster and less tiring to ride than my 2 year old carbon fiber Salsa Cutthroat.

Steel is an amazing material as it has properties that can be altered to make springs or cutting tools.  In theory titanium also has a similar broad range of properties, but because it is so expensive there are fewer alloys to choose from.  Aluminum is lighter still, but while the metal is not as strong, it is strong enough for bike frames.  Carbon fiber is lighter still, and be made to have different properties in each plane.

If it was my money, I would make some upgrades to the Stragler, keep the Straggler for riding marginal to difficult roads, and add a nice road bike.

6
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 25, 2020, 12:06:11 pm »
Now that I know what you have, I think there are a couple of things that you could do.

If you do the tubeless conversion, I would also get a different tire (I have MAXXIS IKON on my gravel bike). 

I would consider swapping out the crank.  I have an SRAM GX crank on my gravel bike, which might now be SRAM GX-1000.  You can get them with a 30, 32, 34, 36, or 38 tooth ring.  I think your bike has a 42 tooth crank.  I started with a 38, moved to a 34 (really liked), and a 30 for a bike packing trip.

Both of these changes will improve what you have, and cost $200 - $300.

But you are riding a gravel bike and it sounds like what you really want is a traditional road bike.  This would involve some soul searching and expense on your part.  You could look at a light touring bike or a not so serious criterium bike, or some other bike that floats your dreams.  You would have to work with your LBS to get the gearing right.  I also have a not serious criterium, and it designed to make riding effort all day long.  I love my gravel bike, but I also love the other 4 bikes I have as well.


7
Gear Talk / Re: Mechanical or hydro?
« on: February 24, 2020, 05:56:40 pm »
I have a 2018 Cutthroat.  I got no complaints about the brakes. 

I did want a lower gear range.  I replaced the factory 38 tooth front sprocket with a 34, and really liked the change.  I did a bike packing trip last spring and wanted an even lower range as we were going to do a lot of climbing, so I swapped in a 30 tooth front sprocket.  The change was goodnfornmy trip, and I have not been annoyed enough to go back to the 34.

I could not figure out what rings to order from SRAM, but it was easy to order from Wolf Engineering.
I don't remember the exact price, but it was $50-$60 per ring.  This is a lot cheaper than wht you are proposing.

What is your beef with mechanical brakes?

8
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 24, 2020, 05:43:34 pm »
There are a lot Surly frames, and I do not know which one the OP had.  My latest bike in my fleet is a Salsa Cutthroat, which has 2.x wide tires. I did the tubeless conversion which saved something like 200 grams per tire.  Not a lot of weight, but at the end of a big radius.  Post change, the bike accelerates much quicker.

I think our OP should investigate tubeless conversion, if the tire are say at least 35mm wide.  If that is not possible, then maybe a change to say a 32mm wide tire.  You can tour on 32mm wide tires on crushed limestone rail trails or paved roads.  Doing a new wheel set is tricky as getting a lighter hub does not do that much, (small bolt circle), spoke pretty much all weigh the same, and rims and tire are where the investigation needs to be.  As has been identified, light and strong are in direct conflict. 

I did a bike packing trip on my  Cutthroat last spring.  My normal touring kit is 60 pounds and includes a day's worth of food.  My bike packing kit was 30 pounds, with no food or stove.  You could hardly fell that the Cutthroat had 30 extra pounds on it.  So maybe a brutal kit review is in order.  My trip was 4 days long and I used everything in my kit but an extra pair of socks.

Time to pipe in fastrog.  I have spoken in generalizations, and more details are needed.

9
Gear Talk / Re: light tour bike
« on: February 24, 2020, 01:11:50 pm »
The advice I am about to give you will be controversial.  All of my engineer buddies agree with me, and most of my disagreements come from non-engineers.  I am a software engineer, but one of my mechanical engineering friends says that SolidWords (a very expensive 3D design and modeling tool) backs up this claim.

There are at least two kinds of weight to review. 

Static weight does not rotate, and its importance is generally overrated.  Going from a 4 pound steel frame to a 2.5 pound aluminum frame is not really going to reduce the burden of riding the bike, and you may curse the ride of the aluminum frame.  Sure you can pick up the difference between riding the bike loaded versus unloaded, but I doubt you can perceive carving a pound and a half of non-rotating weight off. 

Rotating weight, aka moment of inertia, now that is a big deal.  This is weight and radius of the rotation.  So going to say a carbon fiber bottom bracket is probably not going to pay much of a dividend because the radius (bolt circle) is not  very large.   Saving 100 grams by ditching the inner tube when you go tubeless will pay a dividend because it has a large radius. 

So my advice to you is to explore reducing the weight of things that rotate, especially the wheel set.  If you are still running tubes, then look into going tubeless.

10
General Discussion / Re: Lake Michigan tour advice
« on: July 08, 2019, 11:48:02 am »
Western Michigan is very Bike Friendly.  US-31 is pretty ride-able (except thru Traverse City, but there is a TART trail that parallels).  You could circumnavigate the Lake, but I think getting through Chicago could be a challenge, but people do it all the time.  There is a ferry between Luddington and Manitowoc you could take advantage of.  You could go up along Lake Michigan and down Lake Huron and then ride back (I did a trip that way back in 2000).

I think you have lots of choices, and the previously mentioned resources will be helpful.  Google maps is helpful.  So is, the state of Michigan, League of Michigan Bicyclists, Michigan Trails and Greenways (their name keep evolving), and Adventure Cycling.  You might Google DALMAC routes too.

11
I have 5 bikes.  Surely you can end up with 2 bikes.

12
My touring bike is a lugged version of a Waterford Adventure Cycle.  Basically it is a Co-Motion Americano.  Waterford was able to build either a TIG welded or lugged frame.  I run 35mm wide tires on it, just perfect for pavement and rail trails (not so good on loose gravel or cratered roads).

My grave bike is an Apex equipped Salsa Cutthroat.  It will ride over just about anything.


13
I have done one trip on a gravel bike and a bunch of trips on a traditional heavy touring bike.  A traditional gravel bike setup allows for about 30 pounds, with most of the weight in the front.  Sure you can put a rack on one, but I don't know how well it will handle with all that weight in the back.   My gravel bike kit was 31 pounds, and I cannot imagine traveling cross country that way.  I carried no stove or food, and little in the way of extra clothing.   

Are you concerned about chain stay length because of fit issues or to make room for rear panniers?

Which bikes are you thinking of?


14
Gear Talk / Re: Building a lightweight touring bike....
« on: May 07, 2019, 12:59:12 pm »
I am a little confused about what you are trying to do.  A bike packer and a touring bike are two different animals -- they are designed to do different things. 

My touring kit weighs 60 pounds, and  provides a comfortable level of food and shelter in four panniers.  Sure a loaded touring bike is not nimble, but it rides well under a lot of road conditions (wash boarded dirt roads really suck).

I bought a Salsa Cutthroat a year ago, and I got talked into a bike packing trip in early May.  My last frame bag gets delivered today, but it will be at least a week before I can practice packing my gear in these new bags.  Sure it will be a more nimble and faster ride than my touring rig, but I think for most of my trips I will miss the comforts of my  heavier and less nimble touring bike.  I ride for the spiritual experience, so speed is not super important to me.  I bought the Cutthroat because I live in Michigan and we do not have nice black top roads any more, and probably never will.  So I don't have nearly as many opportunities to ride my criterium bike anymore.  The Cutthroat is almost as fast as my criterium bike, and does not care what kind of  road, path, trail it is on.  The Cutthroat has all the mount points for bike packing, and I have adventurous friends.   Ask me how I feel about bike packing after my trip...

A Salsa Cutthroat equipped with Rival 1 components is in the same price range as a Janus Renegade Elite, and it comes equipped with a single ring crank already.  If you do the tubeless conversion, the weights should be about the same.  I was wait listed when I ordered my Cutthroat, and agreed to take a Rival or Apex bike, if one could be found (the annual Cutthroat production run sells out quickly).  I ended up with an Apex grouping, but the frames are all the same (except for color), and Apex has proven to be an amazing group.  I also did the tubeless conversion and that was really impressive.

Having finished my bike packing trip, I feel better qualified to talk about bike packing vs bike touring. 

I am not going to retire my heavy touring bike and live out my days with just my gravel bike.  The trip I was on was explicitly designed to be too nasty to do on a touring bike.  Several of the attendees made remarks about how easy I had it this year.  The nasty part was fine loose gravel over crushed limestone.  Missing from last year (which I did not attend), was snow, ice, and standing water.  The fine loose gravel would have made the course too difficult to do on my heavy touring bike with 35MM wide tires.  It was still difficult with my 2.2" wide tires on the gravel bike. 

My Salsa Cutthroat and gear weighed in at 56 pounds.  I used everything except for an extra pair of smart wool socks and an extra pair of shorts.  I had to contend with some rain, and temps that ranged from 30F to 70F.  I figure my kit weighed 31 pounds, and that includes 5 or 6 pounds for a CPAP machine (I have sleep apnea).  I ate my meals in restaurants and I don't know where I would have put cookware or food in my kit.

So I think I would bike pack off road or on really crappy roads.  I can probably rethink what I take on my touring bike to keep the weight down. 



15
Gear Talk / Re: Building a lightweight touring bike....
« on: March 07, 2019, 12:25:27 pm »
I am a little confused about what you are trying to do.  A bike packer and a touring bike are two different animals -- they are designed to do different things. 

My touring kit weighs 60 pounds, and  provides a comfortable level of food and shelter in four panniers.  Sure a loaded touring bike is not nimble, but it rides well under a lot of road conditions (wash boarded dirt roads really suck).

I bought a Salsa Cutthroat a year ago, and I got talked into a bike packing trip in early May.  My last frame bag gets delivered today, but it will be at least a week before I can practice packing my gear in these new bags.  Sure it will be a more nimble and faster ride than my touring rig, but I think for most of my trips I will miss the comforts of my  heavier and less nimble touring bike.  I ride for the spiritual experience, so speed is not super important to me.  I bought the Cutthroat because I live in Michigan and we do not have nice black top roads any more, and probably never will.  So I don't have nearly as many opportunities to ride my criterium bike anymore.  The Cutthroat is almost as fast as my criterium bike, and does not care what kind of  road, path, trail it is on.  The Cutthroat has all the mount points for bike packing, and I have adventurous friends.   Ask me how I feel about bike packing after my trip...

A Salsa Cutthroat equipped with Rival 1 components is in the same price range as a Janus Renegade Elite, and it comes equipped with a single ring crank already.  If you do the tubeless conversion, the weights should be about the same.  I was wait listed when I ordered my Cutthroat, and agreed to take a Rival or Apex bike, if one could be found (the annual Cutthroat production run sells out quickly).  I ended up with an Apex grouping, but the frames are all the same (except for color), and Apex has proven to be an amazing group.  I also did the tubeless conversion and that was really impressive.


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