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Messages - misterflask

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Gear Talk / Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« on: April 16, 2018, 06:46:02 pm »
I built up a set of touring wheels with Ultegra hubs and Sun-Ringle CR18s.  On a steep descent in Kentucky a car in front of me was lollygagging, forcing me to brake more than I would normally and heating up the rims.  With the extra expansion stress, a section of about three spoke holes broke out of the Ultegra hub.  {To Shimano's credit, the hub was out of warranty and they traded it back so they could examine it.}  I've also broke a ratchet pawl in an Ultegra hub.  So my current thinking is that using Ultegras on touring wheels is like plowing with a thorobred.  Also, a surprising number of riders on the TA made fun of my 'fancy' hubs.  The Ultegra hubs are now spinning happily on a road bike.

I now use velo-orange touring hubs because of the no-tool freehub disassembly and I like the retro high-flange look.  My second choice would be Shimano Deore.

Make sure that you end up with some name-brand (DT or Wheelsmith) butted spokes which are stress relieved after building. 

Gear Talk / Re: Marathon Supremes...
« on: April 08, 2018, 04:26:12 pm »
<<I used them on the TransAm two years ago, >>

Did you finish the TA with one set?  I would have considered that to be adequate life. 

My goal for tire life is a penny a mile.  1000 miles on a $10.00 tire or 5000 miles on a $50.00 tire. 

Gear Talk / Re: Cooking set up while on tour?
« on: April 07, 2018, 06:23:56 am »
I use a Trangia alcohol stove.  I am attracted to the fact that spills are odorless and evaporate quickly.  Also that it cooks silently and there is nothing to fail.  The yellow 'HEET' fuel dryer is wood alcohol (methanol) and can be found in most convenience stores and all auto parts stores, so finding fuel on a road tour is not a problem. 

I got started on alcohol stoves using an ultralight 'penny stove' made from a beer can with a pot stand made from two bike spokes.  The setup would have made any weight-weenie proud.  The stove would inexplicably explode on occasion, though, and I traded to the heavier but less exciting Trangia.

Gear Talk / Re: Hooking you up.
« on: April 07, 2018, 06:09:24 am »
We stray here, but...   As part of a yearly safety talk at work, I often submit cheap readers to the ANSI Z87 standard test for safety glasses: dropping a 1" ball bearing on the lenses from 50".  Lenses commonly pop out of the frames, but I don't believe I've shattered any yet.  I haven't performed the Z87+ test, which I call the "you'll put your eye out, kid" test.  It calls for something like a .25" projectile at 170mph.

Thanks to the OP for sharing.  I've reached the stage of life where I can't make it through any day without needing readers for something.  And I didn't realize that safety readers were available at Lowes.  I've been too prone to using plain readers in my shop, which is probably a bad idea, my testing results notwithstanding. 

Gear Talk / Re: Gear weight
« on: April 07, 2018, 05:45:15 am »
Here's an entertaining Adventure Cycling blog post on their bike weighing experiences back in 2011.  The TL;DR is a low of 50lb, a high of 174lb!!!, with most falling between 70 and 95lb.

Gear Talk / Re: Gear weight
« on: April 04, 2018, 10:43:53 pm »
Well here's a data point you can easily beat.  My Surly LHT fully loaded at the end of a tour weighed about 100lbs.  Some things that ran the weight up:
Clothing/sleep gear picked to be comfortable to 30degF, survivable down to 0degF.
My fuzzy fleece-centric wardrobe isn't the lightest way to go.
I carried a Marathon Plus spare across the country.  I wouldn't do that again.  I'm also neurotic about spare tubes.

I know I ride heavy, but I'm not sure what I'd trim.  I'm sure not guilty of sartorial or gastronomic excess. 

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Recommends
« on: April 04, 2018, 10:22:16 pm »
I have several Brooks Conquests, which are a sprung older model, and a B17, so like most tourers I'm a Brooks fan.

But I also have several Selle Anatomica Titanico X's which have about equal standing in the fleet.  These are light, there is no break-in, and they are a softer ride overall.  I've not toured with them yet but I have ridden a 300k so they are comfortable enough.  Downsides are they are rumored to not have the life of Brooks and need to be coddled against rain a bit more.  If you're not in a hurry they seem to usually have a sale around Christmas each year. 

Gear Talk / Re: Recommendations for gearing
« on: February 25, 2018, 12:34:59 pm »
Using the arcane system of gear inches may help you get to the setup you want.  Gear inches are calculated by front sprocket / back sprocket * tire diameter in inches.

At the low end I run a 24front and 32rear and my 700x35 tires are about 27.5" diameter, yielding 20.6 gear inches.  I imagine that opinions differ, but I would say something around 20 inches for your low gear is a good credible setup for a touring bike.  Your current setup is about 21".  If you make the suggested swap to a 24 chainring that puts you at 19.4".  Swapping to a 22 puts you at 17.8".

Carrying the arithmetic a step further, at a 60rpm cadence, your current setup will climb at a brisk 3.75mph.  If you get the gearing down to that 17.8" you will climb at a more leisurely but steady 3.2mph at 60 cadence.  I've heard the argument that you can walk that speed, but I don't see strolling that clip on a steep uphill with the additional 10lbs of force it will take to keep your bike moving. 

Changing gears here (ha, ha), if you have an M592 Deore Shadow, Shimano rates it for a maximum front difference of 22teeth and a total difference of 45teeth.  If you follow their guidelines, you are at spec for the front (48-26=22) and for the entire system ( (48-26)+(34-11)=45 ).  It would surprise me if you can't cheat on the tooth count a little and I'll let someone else weigh in on that.  Digging into the Shimano table further (, I see only the RD-M8000-SGS is rated for more total capacity at 47teeth, so your deraileur is no wimp on this front.

I used the setup described (20.6") on the TA and started with a weight close to yours.  I didn't use the absolute bottom gears except for a handful of steep climbs in Missouri and appalachia.  Wouldn't have minded another gear-inch lower for those.

Gear Talk / Re: Marathon Supremes...
« on: February 25, 2018, 07:29:51 am »
<<but switched last year to Marathon Almotions (50-622) >>

Almotions it is; just ordered a pair.  Thanks Inge. 

Per, super-low rolling resistance for a touring tire and comparable puncture resistance to the Marathon Plus.  Gotta love the rollingresistance guys for quantifying what we usually trade as anecdote.

I expect riding these tires to be a delight compared to the Marathon Pluses, which always feel like you're riding through mud.

tnx agn all

Gear Talk / Re: Marathon Supremes...
« on: February 21, 2018, 10:24:23 am »

<<Good plan or should I consider a Marathon tire?>>

I don't have any trips over a week planned, so the Supremes look good, assuming some further validation by the forum.  But the Marathon Pluses are just about bulletproof and I would probably use them if I did the TA again.  On my trip I replaced a rear tire for wear, prematurely, and in retrospect I can say the initial set of tires would have made the entire trip if I had rotated them.  I'm still riding the front tire and I think it probably has 6000 or so miles.  FYI I'm heavy and pack heavy, so they carried quite a load.

Gear Talk / Marathon Supremes...
« on: February 20, 2018, 11:27:55 pm »
I just discovered Marathon Supremes (apparently they've been around most of forever).  I put a set on my gravel bike and am awed by their speediness.  Close your eyes and you'll forget you're not on your road bike, something that never happens with my Marathon Pluses.  I so want to put a set on the tourer, but wanted to hear how the gang weighed in.  A forum search found two posts at the extremes (never flat/flat every ten miles).  So, surely somebody has been put some hard miles on these...

General Discussion / Re: Skyline Drive
« on: January 22, 2018, 03:34:11 pm »
I rode Skyline drive and the BRP at about 50miles per day.  The first segment headed south on Skyline logged on my altimeter as about 7000 total ft of climbing.  Obviously this is more than the elevation change, but there was a fair amount of ratcheting up and down.  Way tougher than the James River climb.

Gear Talk / Re: front gears
« on: August 06, 2017, 08:35:06 am »
I thought 2 things about the grades on the TA when I set out: That grades would max out at about 6% and that western grades would be shallower than eastern grades.  I was about 1/3 right.  Western grades maxed out at about 6% (riding West to East), but grades in Kentucky and Virginia would commonly hit 10% and in Missouri reached something ridiculous like 17%.  So west of the continental divide, I never dropped down to the low ring on the triple, which would have given me about 31 gear-inches, but come Missouri, I was glad for my bottom gear of 21 or so (24 chainring to 32 rear sprocket). 

Fun fact - an inclinometer on your bike is the poor man's power meter.  For a 250 lb bike and rider on climbs where aero losses fall off, your power output = %grade x mph x 5.  And please no flames for my riding with an inclinometer; I'm data-driven.

General Discussion / Re: GPS Tracker
« on: August 04, 2017, 10:08:57 am »
I've used a Spot locator  for several years.  It was my wife's precondition for lone cycle touring; that I not be able to disappear from the face of the earth without her having a jumping off point for the search.  She liked the notification feature - that she received an 'all ok' email from every campsite.  But to be fair, there were only a few spots on the TA that my verizon-network phone didn't work.

The website lacks some features that should have been added by now; history greater than two weeks and the ability to download tracks.  But it did fulfill the function of being a huge time-waster and source of amusement for coworkers and relatives.  My coworkers generally had a much better idea of where I was than I did.  They never followed through, but contemplated sending pizza to my campsite.

General Discussion / Re: Trangia Stove / Meths
« on: January 24, 2017, 01:41:38 pm »
 <<BUT...  do you know you can get a gas burner for the Trangia?  >>
I did not know this, but am intrigued.  My favorite trait of the alcohol-fueled Trangia is that it burns dead quiet.  Does the gas burner run quietly, or at least quieter than an MSR?

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